As Personal Representative, what happens if the heirs aren’t happy with how I decide to distribute a potentialsettlement?

UPDATED: Oct 25, 2010

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As Personal Representative, what happens if the heirs aren’t happy with how I decide to distribute a potentialsettlement?

My grandmother passed away last year without a Will. My mother, my aunt and I have filed a lawsuit against the nursing home. I have petition the courts in FL to be Personal Representative of her estate. She has 5 living children, including my mom, who asked that I be put in charge of any settlement. They also stated that they would sign a notarized letter stating that I can administer any settlement amongst them how I deem fit (as my mom was my grandmother’s primary caretaker before she went into the nursing home and she visited her3-4 days a week before she passed away). Would these letters be legally binding if notarized?

Asked on October 25, 2010 under Estate Planning, Florida


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

May I suggest that you consult with an attorney in your area to help you administer the estate?  You as the personal representative have a fiduciary duty to administer the estate fairly and according to the laws in the state of Florida.  As there was no Will the intestacy laws of the state will kick in and under the intestacy laws the children should all receive an equal share of the estate. If you choose to distribute more to one relative than another the other beneficiaries could see this as a breach of your duty.  Especially if it is YOUR mother.  Additionally, the Estate should probably be the one to bring the lawsuit on behalf of your Grandmother (you did not state what the suit was for).  Seek legal help.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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