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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 10 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.


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