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Who does the Attorney Represent in a FL Probate Case?

In a probate case, the executor, or personal representative, is a key figure entrusted with

the crucial role of managing the assets and administering the estate after an individual passes away. Their responsibilities, which include applying for probate and ensuring the heirs receive assets according to the deceased person's wishes, are of utmost importance. When an estate needs to go through the probate process, the executor also hires a probate lawyer.

signing papers

What Is Probate?

Probate is a standard legal procedure formalizing how some assets pass from decedents to their chosen heirs. While probate can be a complex process for larger estates, it’s often a simple formality for most Americans, providing a sense of reassurance. Essentially, probate allows a judge to give legal permission for assets to pass whether or not there is a last will.

The probate attorney represents the personal representative.  Although the attorney does not owe specific duties to the beneficiaries, the executor does.  For example, these are some common duties of the executor that arise in probate activities:

  • Duty to communicate: This includes notifying the heirs that the estate exists and providing them with a copy of the inventory and court filings. (Note that this isn't the same thing as an attorney-client relationship; no attorney-client privilege exists.) An executor who maintains open communication, such as disclosing any conflicts of interest, can also better avoid any claims favoring one heir over another.   

  • Duty to account: The executor is legally responsible for providing regular estate accountings. This includes explaining funds paid out of estate accounts for expenses and maintaining detailed documentation.

  • Duty of confidentiality: Executors must also keep details related to the estate and its heirs confidential as part of their fiduciary duties.

  • Duty to treat all beneficiaries equally: The executor must distribute estate funds at the same time.

Understanding and navigating the ins and outs of a probate matter can be daunting, whether you are the executor or an heir. Trust and confidence in the legal professionals with whom you are working is essential. Reach out to our team today to speak with an experienced attorney about your probate matter.

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