Florida Probate Statute 733.305: Trust Companies and Other Corporations and Associations
In Florida, the personal representative is the person who is appointed by a probate court judge to perform the often daunting tasks of settling the estate of a loved one and distributing his (or her) assets. When creating a will, the testator can nominate the person that he wants to serve as personal representative. The court will then formally appoint that person, as long as he or she is willing to accept the responsibility and is qualified. Oftentimes the testator will name a family member such as a spouse, parent, child, or sibling. Or, the testator will name a close friend. In other cases the testator will decide it is better to name a company to serve as personal representative. If you would like to learn more about selecting a personal representative, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.305- Trust companies and other corporations and associations, contact an experienced estate administration at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.Who May Act as a Personal Representative
According to the Florida Probate Code, anyone who is at least 18 years old can take care of his (or her) own affairs, and who is a resident of Florida may serve as personal representative. In addition, an individual who seeks to be personal representative must not have a mental or physical incapacity that would prevent him from being able to do the activities required by the role. Furthermore, a person who has been convicted of a felony would not be eligible to be a personal representative.Trust Companies and Other Corporations and Associations as Personal Representative
While in most cases it is, the personal representative does not have to be an individual. In fact, according to Florida Statutes, section 733.305- Trust companies and other corporations and associations, companies can be appointed by the probate court to serve as personal representative. As an experienced estate administration lawyer in Fort Lauderdale will explain, there are many reasons that a testator may choose a corporate personal representative over an individual. One reason is due to the expertise of a corporate personal representative. Typically individuals who serve as personal representatives have limited if any prior experience serving as personal representative. On the other hand, trust companies and banks are experts and are staffed by individuals who have years of experience managing estates. Another advantage is that a corporate personal representative would be neutral, whereas a family member or a friend who serves as personal representative would be emotionally invested in the situation. This may resulting in stress and strain on the personal representative, and may lead to lasting hard feelings.
Another reason to select a corporate personal representative is that it would have the resources to perform most if not all of the tasks necessary to manage the decedent’s estate. For example, a corporate personal representative would have brokerage, investment, and accounting services in house. On the other hand an individual would likely not have the expertise to perform these tasks and would have to hire professionals to do so. If you are wondering about whether to name a corporate representative to serve as the personal representative for your estate, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale estate administration attorney to review your options.
Just like there are special qualifications for individuals to serve as administrator, there are special qualifications for companies. The following types of companies are entitled to act as personal representative:
- A trust company incorporated in Florida
- A Florida banking corporation or a Florida savings association authorized to exercise fiduciary powers in Florida
- A national banking association or federal savings and loan association authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in Florida
If a testator names a company in his will to serve as personal representative and that company later is sold, or merges with another company, the successor company can still serve as personal representative as long as the successor is qualified to serve as a personal representative.Related Statutory Provisions
- Persons not qualified: § 733.303, Fla. Stat.
- Nonresidents : § 733.304, Fla. Stat.
- Effect of appointment of debtor: § 733.306, Fla. Stat.
- Succession of administration: § 733.307, Fla. Stat.
- All trust companies incorporated under the laws of Florida, all state banking corporations and state savings associations authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in Florida, and all national banking associations and federal savings and loan associations authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in Florida shall be entitled to act as personal representatives and curators of estates.
- When a qualified corporation has been named as a personal representative in a will and subsequently transfers its business and assets to, consolidates or merges with, or is in any manner provided by law succeeded by, another qualified corporation, on the death of the testator, the successor corporation may qualify as personal representative unless the will provides otherwise.
- A corporation authorized and qualified to act as a personal representative as a result of merger or consolidation shall succeed to the rights and duties of all predecessor corporations as the personal representative of estates upon filing proof in the court, and without a new appointment. A purchase of substantially all the assets and the assumption of substantially all the liabilities shall be deemed a merger for the purpose of this section.
If you are wondering about whether a corporate personal representative is right for your estate, or if you should appoint a trusted family member, 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 complex estate administration matters and understand the nuances of the Florida Probate Code, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.305- Trust companies and other corporations and associations. We can help. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.