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Florida Probate Statute 733.304: Nonresidents

The job of a personal representative is to manage the estate of the decedent and distribute the estate assets. In order for someone to be appointed personal representative he (or she) must submit a petition to the Division of Probate of the Circuit Court in the county in which the decedent lived at the time of his (or her) death. However, the court will approve a petition only if the petitioner is qualified. There are several requirements for being a personal representative in Florida, including being a resident of Florida. If you would like to learn more about the process of being appointed a personal representative including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.304- Nonresidents, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale estate administration at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Nonresidents

In Florida, in order to qualified to be appointed a personal representative, the person must be at least 18 years old, the person must have the mental and physical ability to handle the job, the person must not be a convicted felon, and the person must be a Florida resident. There are practical reasons for the residency requirement. The duties of the personal representative involve inventorying and safeguarding estate property. It is much more challenging for the personal representative lives out of state to care for estate assets if he lives far away. In addition, it is more difficult for an out-of-state personal representative to attend court proceedings that may be necessary throughout the administration process.

However, as an experienced estate administration attorney in Fort Lauderdale would explain, according to Florida Statutes, section 733.304- Nonresidents, there are 4 exceptions to the residency requirement. The first exception is that a nonresident can serve as a personal representative if the person is an adoptive parent of the decedent or the adopted child of the decedent.

Second, a nonresident can serve as a personal representative if he (or she) is related to the decedent by lineal consanguinity. This means that the person must be related in a direct line. For example, a parent and child have lineal consanguinity as does a grandchild and grandparent. Siblings, on the other hand, do not have lineal consanguinity.

Third, nonresident can serve as a personal representative if he or she is a spouse or a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the decedent, or someone related by lineal consanguinity to any such person.

As a Fort Lauderdale estate administration attorney will explain, there is one other exception to the rule. The spouse of a person who is otherwise qualified to serve as a personal representative despite being a nonresident, is also qualified.

Order of Preference

Besides the residency and other general requirements, Florida law established a list of preferences as to who the court must appoint as personal representative. There is an order of preference for testate estates and order of preference of intestate estates. For estate estates, the person who will receive top consideration for the personal representative job is the person who the decedent nominated in his will to serve as personal representative. This means that as long as the person is qualified and is willing to serve, the court will issue him (or her) letters of administration. The next in order of preference is the successor to the person named in the will, followed by the person selected by a majority in interest of the persons entitled to the estate, and the person who the probate court judge determined is the best-qualified devisee. If none of these people are qualified or willing to serve, then the probate court judge will appoint any capable person.

If the decedent died intestate, decedent’s surviving spouse would be the personal representative. If he or she is not qualified or declines to petition the court for the job, or if there is no surviving spouse, then the next person in line would be the person selected by a majority in interest of the heirs, followed by the heir nearest in degree, and any capable person appointed by the probate court judge.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Who may be appointed personal representative : § 733.302, Fla. Stat.
  2. Persons not qualified: § 733.303, Fla. Stat.
  3. Trust companies and other corporations and associations: § 733.305, Fla. Stat.
  4. Effect of appointment of debtor: § 733.306, Fla. Stat.
FL. Stat, section 733.304- Nonresidents

A person who is not domiciled in the state cannot qualify as personal representative unless the person is:

  1. A legally adopted child or adoptive parent of the decedent;
  2. Related by lineal consanguinity to the decedent;
  3. A spouse or a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the decedent, or someone related by lineal consanguinity to any such person; or
  4. The spouse of a person otherwise qualified under this section.
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 733.304- Nonresidents, 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.

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