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Fiduciary duty for executors and trustees

A person in Florida who has been appointed the executor or trustee of an estate has a fiduciary duty. This is a big responsibility, and the job can be overwhelming. However, the executor or trustee can seek help from professionals.

Fiduciary duty means the person is legally obligated to manage the estate or trust effectively. It's important to note that ignorance is not a defense against being held liable for mismanagement. However, a corporate professional may be able to prevent issues by providing valuable guidance. The executor would still be able to direct what happens, but the agent would have the responsibility. A team may also consist of an accountant and attorney.

Using an agency may be necessary with a particularly complex estate. A person may have fiduciary duty for assets that include a business, a ranch, a farm, commercial real estate and more. Most people who do not already manage these types of assets professionally may not be able to do so effectively without assistance.

Choosing the right agent is also important. An executor should research and make sure the selected agent handles the kinds of assets that are in the estate.

Not every estate will be this complex. Some people may just need an attorney to guide them through the probate process. However, even an executor for a smaller estate that will pass through probate still has responsibilities that include locating assets, paying creditors, filing taxes and distributing assets to beneficiaries. An attorney could help with these and other issues that may arise.

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