Florida Probate Statute 733.302: Who May Be Appointed Personal Representative
When someone passes away, the probate court in Florida appoints someone to manage the decedent’s estate and distribute the assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries or heirs. If the decedent left a will, the personal representative the court appoints is typically the person the decedent named in his (or her will). However, before anyone has the legal authority to serve as personal representative, the probate court must issue an order appointing the personal representative. The court will only appoint someone who is eligible to serve and who is qualified to serve. If you would like to learn more about the how the probate court decides who will serve as personal representative, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale estate administration lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who understands the rules that govern the process, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.302- Who may be appointed personal representative.Who may be Appointed Personal Representative
According to the Florida law, there are two main requirements for being appointed personal representative. The petitioner must be sui juris. This means that he (or she) must have the legal capacity to manage his own affairs. Typically, any adult would meet this requirement. The second requirement under of Florida Statutes, section 733.302- Who may be appointed personal representative , is that the person must have been a resident of Florida at the time of the decedent’s death.
In addition, as a Fort Lauderdale estate administration attorney will explain, a personal representative does not have to be an individual. The role can also be filled by a corporation. Under the Florida Probate Code, all Florida trust companies, banks, and savings and loans authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in Florida, as well as national banking associations and federal savings and loan associations authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in Florida can act as personal representatives of estates.Factors That Would Disqualify
While there are long two requirements for who may be pointed personal representative, there are several factors that would disqualify a petitioner from being qualified to serve.
- Under 18 years old. If the petitioner is less than 18 years old, he would be disqualified from serving as personal representative. In Florida the age of 18 is consider the age of majority. At the age of 18 individuals can legally enter into contracts and file lawsuits. Thus, they are legally sui juris—able to manage their own affairs.
- Mental or physical incapacity. A person who suffers from a mental or physical incapacity such that he or she is unable to perform the responsibilities of the role, that person would be disqualified.
- Committing a felony. Anyone who has been convicted of a felony would be disqualified from serving as a personal representative.
- Nonresident. Generally, individuals who are not residents of Florida cannot qualify to server as personal representatives. However, there exceptions to this general rule. Someone who is an adopted child or adopted parent of the decedent may serve as personal representative for the decedent’s estate even if he (or she) is not domiciled in Florida. Similarly, someone who is related by lineal consanguinity, or who is a spouse, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the decedent, would not be disqualified based solely on not being domiciled in Florida.
If you have questions concerning whether or not you or another person is qualified to be a personal representative, contact an experienced estate administration lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.Example
Ashley executed a will when she was 35 nominating her best friend Babs as her personal representative. Ashley and Babs were friends since elementary school. 20 years after Ashley created the will, Babs moved from Florida to North Carolina for a great job opportunity. However, Ashley and Babs remained close friends, texting, chatting on the phone practically every day. Ashley was killed in the car accident. Babs, who had custody of Ashley’s will, traveled to Florida to file the petition for probate and to be named personal representative. The probate court denied Babs’ application because Babs was not domiciled in Florida and she did not meet any of the exceptions to the requirement.Related Statutory Provisions
- Preference in appointment of personal representative: § 733.301, Fla. Stat.
- Persons not qualified: § 733.303, Fla. Stat.
- Nonresidents: § 733.304, Fla. Stat.
- Trust companies and other corporations and associations: § 733.305, Fla. Stat.
Subject to the limitations in this part, 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.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
If you have questions the procedure for the appointment of a personal representative, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.302- Who may be appointed personal representative, it is important that you discuss your concerns with an experienced estate administration attorney. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over two decades of experience representing clients in matters related to the administration of estate, and understand the requirements of the Florida Probate Code. We can help. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.