Florida legal question: court appointed lawyer as personal representative of Florida estate

Asked 4 months ago - Miami, FL

A Florida probate court appoints a lawyer as a personal representative of a Florida estate. There are two heirs-at-law of the estate. There are assets located in a trust in another state. Those assets go into the estate once trust is settled. Trustee is known to be guilty of malfeasance. Trustee's own personal wealth not known.
One heir wants the trustee prosecuted for fiduciary breach; the other heir doesn't. That heir wants the court appointed personal rep. to just take the money from the trust and not prosecute the trustee. Jurisdiction for the trust lawsuit is in another state. . What should the FL lawyer, personal representative, do? Florida lawyer is not licensed in the state where the trust assets are located..

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Horacio A. Sosa

    Contributor Level 9

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    Answered . The Florida lawyer should known what he/she is supposed to do. If the heirs don't like what he/she is doing, they should hire their own lawyer.

    The estate can sue the trustee in the other jurisdiction if there are grounds to do so. The beneficiaries of the trust can petition a judge to remove a trustee if the trustee is not performing its duties. This petition will be heard by the judge having jurisdiction over the trust.

    In short, a lot can happen here but it appears that everyone should have separate counsel because the interest are in conflict.

  2. John David Cusick

    Contributor Level 6

    Answered . I am not sure I understand your question. I think you are asking what should the PR do and what are his duties? The duties of the personal representative regarding the administration of a decedent's estate encompass a broad spectrum of obligations. A synopsis of the essential duties of the personal representative, however, includes the duty to:

    · gather together all estate assets and collect all debts;
    · preserve, maintain, and manage the assets during administration to prevent loss;
    · determine all ascertainable creditors who may file a claim against the estate and ensure that those creditors are served with a Notice to Creditors;
    · arrange for sufficient liquidity to pay the proper debts of the decedent, funeral and administration expenses, and taxes;
    · pay the decedent's debts, funeral and administration expenses, taxes, and cash bequests; and
    · make distribution to beneficiaries.

    As you stated, the beneficiary of the estate is the trust, so I am assuming that it is a pourover will.

    It seems to me that what is going on with the Trust is somewhat outside the scope of the PR's duties. I believe the best thing to do, is to contact an attorney in the jurisdiction that the trust is being administered and file some sort of an action to remove the trustee and for damages against the trustee. I doubt that the PR will or is even obligated to. Accordingly, the ball is in your court. Contact an attorney.

  3. Charles P. Ward

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . Well this is not real easy to answer. You should consult with an attorney to give all the particulars. I would not wait on this. Check avvo for a list of attorneys. Good luck.

    *This information should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

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