In Florida, there are two types of probate – summary administration and formal administration. As most estates do not qualify for summary administration, formal administration is considered the traditional form of probate within the estate.
Formal administration begins once the probate court appoints a personal representative, usually corroborating the decedent’s choice outlined in the last will.
In this regard, state law permits one to designate two distinct individuals to serve as personal representatives using a last will. However, doing so might not be the ideal approach, especially in situations involving family disputes.
Can You Have Two Personal Representatives in Florida? – An Honest Overview
Generally, individuals who choose to designate two distinct personal representatives in their will(s) do so as a way to avoid hurting the feelings of a close relative or friend by choosing only one.
Nonetheless, designating two personal representatives (or joint personal representatives) instead of one can make the probate process even more complex than it already is.
Florida Statute §733.615 (1) provides that “if two or more persons are appointed joint personal representatives, and unless the will provides otherwise, the concurrence of all joint personal representatives appointed (…) is required on all acts connected with the administration and distribution of the estate.”
Ultimately, all documents will need to be signed by both joint personal representatives and every decision will need to be agreed upon by them.
As formally administering a decedent’s estate is not an easy task with one person administering the process, the result of appointing two joint personal representatives may be an overwhelmingly complex administration – thus, wasting time and valuable resources.
What Should I Consider Before Naming Two Personal Representatives in Florida?
As Florida’s formal administration legally requires the personal representative to be assisted by a licensed attorney, it will result in additional attorneys’ fees (especially if the agreement is based on a value paid per hour).
When preparing a last will, the testator must consider several factors before naming two distinct personal representatives, such as:
- Discussing with the person(s) involved in the process
- Clarifying about the duties and responsibilities of a personal representative
- Exposing the benefits of having one personal representative instead of two individuals to administer the same estate
- Explaining the implications of having two joint personal representatives
Once all the individuals involved in the decision acknowledge the importance of choosing a qualified person, it may be easier to find the best-suited family member or close friend to serve as a personal representative.
What If One of the Appointed Joint Personal Representatives Decides to Resign?
Florida law permits that, in cases involving two joint personal representatives, one of them resign if they want to do so. Accordingly, the resigning personal representative can waive his/her appointment using a Waiver and Consent.
For those unaware, a Waiver and Consent permits the personal representative to waive the appointment, giving up any rights in executing the estate subject to probate, and consenting to the appointment of a sole personal representative.
Ideally, a Waiver and Consent should be prepared under the guidance of an expert probate attorney. Once the document is filled out, the resigning personal representative must file it with the probate court adjudicating the case.
Then, the court may grant authority to just the one remaining personal representative.
Are You Unsure About Naming Two Joint Personal Representatives? – Immediately Contact Your Florida Probate Lawyer
Depending on the circumstances, probate cases involving joint personal representatives may be significantly more complex than cases involving just one executor.