Making The American Dream Attainable

Answers To Your Estate Planning Questions

At Cynthia I. Waisman, P.A., we are committed to answering your questions and providing you with the comprehensive information you need to make informed estate planning decisions. To learn more, please call for an attorney consultation. We serve clients throughout the Tampa Bay area. 

Who qualifies as the personal representative?

The personal representative can be selected in several ways. Where there is a valid will, the person is appointed in the will to act as personal representative. The court usually follows this provision, unless the person has a felony conviction or is not a family member and resides out of state. If there is not a will, the court follows a specific hierarchy in appointing the personal representative. First, the court determines if there is a surviving spouse; the second choice would be the person selected by a majority of interest of the heirs; and then perhaps it would be the heir closest in degree to the decedent’s residence before death. If more than one heir qualifies, then the court could be used to select the best candidate possible.

Who can initiate probate proceedings?

In Florida, either a creditor or beneficiary of an estate can commence a probate proceeding. However, if the decedent left a last will and testament (will), then the personal representative (aka executor) named in that will usually initiate the probate. On the other hand, if there is not a will, or if it cannot be located, then normally a close relative will initiate the probate process.

What happens if the children of the deceased parent do not live in Florida?

Often children do not live in Florida, where their deceased parent’s estate will proceed. The children will not necessarily be required to travel to Florida to handle the estate. Florida attorneys can handle probate matters throughout Florida no matter where the personal representative resides. And, there is often no requirement for the child to come to Florida, unless there is a contested matter involved in the estate. Florida probate judges often will accommodate out-of-state parties to allow them to participate in hearings by telephone or waive appearance and allow their attorneys to represent them to avoid extensive travel. Each case must be reviewed separately to determine whether out-of-state travel will be necessary.

Call 727-219-9009 to discuss your needs with a knowledgeable lawyer in a free 10-minute consultation.