When someone dies in Florida, his/her estate must undergo probate, which is a court-supervised process to verify the decedent’s last will and execute the estate to distribute the decedent’s remaining assets to beneficiaries.
Accordingly, the probate court will designate someone to administer the process in detail. Keep reading to find out how someone can qualify to serve as a personal representative in Florida.
Qualifying as Personal Representative in Florida – Who Can Step Up to the Job?
Essentially, almost anyone can qualify to serve as a personal representative in Florida. As provided by Florida Statutes §733.303, “a person is not qualified to act as a personal representative if the person:
- Has been convicted of a felony
- Has been convicted in any state or foreign jurisdiction of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an elderly person or a disabled adult (as defined by Fla. Stat. §825.101)
- Is mentally or physically unable to perform the duties.
- Is under the age of 18 years”
After satisfying these initial requirements, individuals willing to serve as personal representatives are selected based on a statutory order of preference. In this sense, the order of preference will depend on whether the decedent has died intestate or not.
According to Florida Statutes §733.301, the order of preference for testate estates is:
- “The personal representative or his or her successor, nominated by the will or pursuant to a power conferred in the will
- The person selected by a majority in interest of the persons entitled to the estate
- A devisee under the will. If more than one devisee applies, the court may select the one best qualified”
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The person selected by a majority in interest of the heirs
- The heir nearest in degree (or the best-qualified among multiple heirs, as selected by the court)
Can Nonresidents in Florida Serve as Personal Representatives?
Florida Statutes §733.302 states that “any person who is sui juris and is a resident of Florida at the time of the death of the person whose estate is to be administered is qualified to act as personal representative in Florida.”
Accordingly, there is a specific set of rules that govern the appointment of nonresidents in Florida as personal representatives within the state’s jurisdiction. Florida Statutes §733.304 provide that an individual not domiciled in Florida may not qualify as a personal representative unless that person is:
- The decedent’s legally adopted child or adoptive parent
- Related to the decedent by lineal consanguinity (related by blood)
- The decedent’s spouse, sibling, uncle/aunt, nephew/niece, or someone related by blood to any such person(s), or
- The spouse of a person otherwise qualified under state law
Ultimately, nonresidents in Florida are only allowed to serve as personal representatives if they have a degree of kinship with the decedent. The closer the relationship, the higher the preference to serve as a personal representative (i.e., spouse, parents, children, etc.).
Are You Serving as a Personal Representative in Florida? – Immediately Contact Your Florida Probate Lawyer
Serving as a personal representative requires solid legal advice, thus waste no time – call Attorney Romy B. Jurado an Diana C. Collazos today at (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected] to schedule a consultation.