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Checklist Of Initial Tasks For A Florida Personal Representative (Or Executor)

By Phillip B. Rarick, Miami Probate Attorney 

Note:   This is a short list of  initial tasks for a person who may be appointed the Personal Representative (or Executor) of an estate under a Florida will, or if there is no will, in an intestate estate.  This is not a complete list of the Personal Representative’s tasks.     For questions call an attorney at Rarick & Bowden Gold, P.A. at  (305) 556-5209 or email to


____    Take possession and safeguard all assets

____    Lock and secure all real estate and household contents:  Keep insured

____    Take possession of all records

____    Do not allow entry to Safe Deposit Box without witnesses and prior discussion of arrangements with attorney

____    Engage attorney

____    Engage accountant

____    Locate original will and deliver to attorney

____    Complete Master Information List

____    Collect documents on Estate Document List

____    Cancel utilities, subscriptions

____    Advise Post office to forward mail

____    Contact homeowner’s insurance and keep insurance current

____    Inventory Safe Deposit Box

____    Search records for potential creditors

____    Advise secured creditors to keep current

____    Open Estate Bank Account

____    Set up Quicken Account

____    Order Appraisal

____    Determine if any Employee Benefits

____    Contact health care providers, such as doctors, hospitals, clinics and determine if they have accepted Medicare assignment for their services.  If they have, then they have agreed to accept Medicare and any other insurance payments for their services.  Therefore there should be no reason for them to file a claim in the estate for any unpaid portion of their statement.  If we have a list of the Medicare providers, we will prepare objections to any claims they file against the estate.

____    Social Security:  If the decedent was receiving Social Security, contact (a) the Social Security Administration to inform them of the decedent’s death; (b) the bank where the social security check is being deposited directly into to inform them of the decedent’s death.  The Social Security checks are issued a the first of the month and they are in payment for the previous month.  The decedent must have lived the entire month to be entitled to the Social Security check. For example, if  the decedent died August 15, and the Social Security check was automatically deposited on September 3, the decedent is not entitled to the September 3 check or any checks thereafter.  You must contact the bank and request that they return the check to Social Security. Often the bank does this automatically as a service to customers.  If the check is not returned, the Social Security Administration will take steps to collect the check(s).

____    Make a claim for Social Security death benefit if  (a) decedent has enough hours worked during his or her lifetime; and is  (b)  survived by a spouse or dependent child.     For additional information contact Social Security at 800-772-1213.

____    Determine if Fraternal lodge union or other benefits

____    Determine if veteran benefits

Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an attorney that is experienced in Florida probate law. Your receipt of information from this website, blog, or Miami probate attorney does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

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