Selecting a personal representative for your estate is an important decision. The role carries a great deal of responsibility and you want someone you can trust in that role. But what if the person you want to name as your representative doesn’t live in Florida?
Non-residents as personal representatives
The short answer is yes, you can name a non-resident as your representative. However, you’re limited in who you can select by the relationship you share with them. Florida Statute Section 733.304 states the requirements for non-residents to serve as a personal representative in Florida.
Legally adopted children or adoptive parents may serve as your representative. The statute also permits any non-resident who is related to you by ‘lineal consanguinity’ – or a blood relative in direct line. An example of this would be a father, a son and a grandson. Beyond your own direct line, spouses, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews may also serve if they are non-residents. So too can the spouse of anyone who permitted to serve.
What happens if a non-resident is named but they don’t qualify?
Let’s say someone names their best friend as their personal representative, but that friend lives in another state. In that case, the friend would not be able to serve. If the will includes alternate names as personal representative, the duty will fall to them. But if the only person named is a non-resident who does not qualify, Florida probate law lists a preference for who would be named in their stead. If there is a surviving spouse, they will be the first option. If there is not, the deceased’s heirs can select the representative. If they cannot or do not, the duty falls to the nearest heir who qualifies.