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Who can and cannot be a personal representative in Florida?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2024 | Estate Planning |

After a person dies in Florida, probate is a legal process to distribute their property to beneficiaries. Toward that end, a personal representative is named. In many states, the term “executor” is used.

The primary objective is to oversee the decedent’s estate and fulfill the terms of the will. The court will appoint the personal representative. It is important to understand the law regarding this role, how to select a person and who cannot serve.

Know the facts about personal representatives

The court has a preference in naming a personal representative. When there is a will, the testator might have named a person they wanted to serve. They will be first in the order or preference. Next will be a person selected by a majority of those legally entitled to the estate. After that will be a person named to receive property in the will. When there is more than one, the court chooses the person best qualified.

There are also people who will automatically be rejected as a personal representative due to a lack of qualifications or past issues. Those who are convicted of a felony cannot serve. Anyone who was convicted in any state or foreign jurisdiction of abusing, neglecting or exploiting a disabled person or an elderly person cannot serve. The person must be mentally and physically able to perform the necessary duties and be at least 18.

In some instances, a person who does not reside in Florida can serve, but they must be a legally adopted child or parent of the person who died; be related to the decedent by blood; or be a spouse, sibling or other relative by blood; or a spouse of a person who is qualified but resides outside the state.

A personal representative is essential with estate administration

Overseeing probate is an important aspect of ensuring a person’s estate plan is followed as they wanted. When a person wants to serve as the personal representative or is asked to do so, it is vital to know whether they meet the qualifications and what it entails. For people who are thinking about any aspect of estate planning, probate and estate administration regardless of the perspective, it is useful to know the law and how the process works.