Florida Probate: What Are Letters Of Administration?
If a deceased loved one left behind, for example, a bank account that is just in their name, or a life insurance policy with no designated beneficiaries, you may have tried getting information or their money from the bank or insurance company. However, you probably have not been able to do so if you don’t have “Letters of Administration.”
Letters of Administration are issued during probate proceedings to the personal representative of a decedent’s estate. Below is more information on “Letters of Administration.”
What Are Letters of Administration?
Letters of administration are not letters as the name might suggest. In Florida, Letters of Administration are a court order that a judge enters during probate. With the Letters of Administration in hand, a personal representative has the power to do everything necessary to administer the decedent’s estate. When you present Letters of Administration to the bank or other financial institution, for example, the Letters of Administration will make it known that the Florida probate court has authorized you to act on behalf of the decedent’s beneficiaries or heirs. Generally, Letters of Administration direct the companies involved, and even agents that used to work with the decedent, to now work with you.
Usually, the language used in Letters of Administration is quite straightforward. In general, such a court order will indicate the personal representative’s name and that the judge has found the named individual qualified to act in such a position.
When Are Letters of Administration Issued in Florida?
In Florida, Letters of Administration are issued after a personal representative has been officially appointed by the probate court. Usually, the individual named in the decedent’s will as the personal representative is the one the Court appoints to act in that capacity. However, if there is no will, the Court chooses who to appoint as the personal representative. If there is a surviving spouse, they will most likely be selected to serve as the personal representative. Once a surviving spouse is chosen to serve as the personal representative, and officially appointed, they receive Letters of Administration. Nevertheless, it is crucial to note that heirs can consent to the appointment of another person in some situations.
After the Court issues the Letters of Administration to a personal representative, the personal representative is free to begin the administration process and carry out a variety of tasks, including:
- Gathering assets from banks or other financial institutions
- Filing tax returns
- Canceling utilities
- Opening an estate bank account
- Signing necessary documents transferring assets to beneficiaries
An Attorney Can Help You
Without Letters of Administration, you might find it hard to administer your deceased loved one’s estate. Without this court order, it might be hard for you to resolve the decedent’s affairs and distribute their assets. Fortunately, help is available. An attorney can help you take the necessary steps to get Letters of Administration and administer your loved one’s estate.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Probate Attorney
The skilled and dedicated Fort Lauderdale probate & guardianship attorneys at Joyce A. Julian, P.A., can help you get started with the probate process and obtain Letters of Administration so you can be able to administer your deceased loved one’s estate. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.