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What are the duties of an executor in Florida?

An executor is an individual named in a testator's will who is charged with taking care of the legal and financial responsibilities of the deceased individual's estate. The executor's responsibilities include submitting the will for probate, paying any outstanding taxes for the testator's estate, settling any debts of the estate, collecting money due the estate, and finally distributing the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries named in the will. Because of the personal nature of this type of activity, an executor is usually either a close family relative or a close family friend of the testator.

The executor must also manage other matters on behalf of the testator's estate. This can include appearing in court on behalf of the estate and maintaining any property that is part of the estate until it is liquidated.

A person named as an executor does not have to accept the responsibility, and can decline to serve. An executor can also resign at any time. For this reason testators frequently nominate one or more alternate executors in their will.

Executors often have to devote significant time to managing the decedent's estate, and they are entitled to a percentage of the estate as compensation for their services. According to Florida statutes, the commission for the executor in a formal probate proceeding is 3 percent of first $1 million of the estate's value, 2.5 percent of the value from $1 million to $5 million, and 2 percent of any value over $5 million.

Choosing an executor is an important step and should help put the mind of the testator at ease. A Florida resident who wants to draw up a will or other estate planning documents may want to speak to an experienced estate planning attorney in order to better understand their potential choices.

Source: www.estate.findlaw.com, "Will executor duties FAQ", Accessed June 29, 2015

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