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Florida Probate Statute 733.501: Curators

In Florida, when someone passes away, a personal representative must be appointed to care for the decedent’s affairs and see to the orderly distribution of his (or her) assets according to Florida’s estate laws. The appointment of a personal representative is important for the Estate administration process, as the personal representative’s job is manage and safeguard the estate. In there is not personal representative, the estate remains at risk of being damaged or wasted. If there is a time when the appointed representative is not legally able to perform his duties, instead of putting the estate at risk, the probate court can appoint a curator to take care of the estate and perform the duties of a personal representative. If you would like to learn more about the job of a curator, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.501, Curators, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale estate lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Curators

The Florida probate statute defines a “curator” as a person who is appointed by the probate court to take charge of an estate until a personal representative is formally appointed. There are many reasons that curator is appointed. Typically the reason is associated with a circumstance that results in a delay in the appointment for the personal representative, such as a dispute over the qualifications of a personal representative. However, a curator might also be appointed in situations where the personal representative resigns, is removed by the probate court, or is suspended. Essentially, as a Fort Lauderdale estate lawyer would explain, for a curator to be appointed, there must not already be a personal representative in place with the active letters of administration.

Example

Paul died having executed a will that named his nephew, Stan, to serve as the personal representative of his estate. After Stan filed a petition for administration, the probate court entered letters of administration appointing Stan as the personal representative. Stan began the process of managing Paul’s estate.

A few weeks later Paul’s son, Larry, filed a petition to revoke the probate of the Paul’s will and to remove Stan as the personal representative in favor of a curator. The probate court held a hearing. Based on the information presented during the hearing the court removed Stan as personal representative, but did not revoke probate. The court also appointed a curator to continue with the personal representative duties until a new personal representative could be appointed and letters issued.

Authority of a Curator

Pursuant to Florida Statutes, section 733.501- Curators, the probate court can authorize the curator to perform any of the duties of a personal representative. Typically the court must give notice regarding the appointment of a curator. However, if there is great danger that the estate would suffer damage if there is a delay in putting a curator in place, the court may appoint a curator without giving notice. As with a personal representative, bond shall be required of the curator as the court deems necessary. However, no bond is required of banks and trust companies as curators. In addition, curators shall be allowed reasonable compensation for their services. In other words, as an estate attorney in Fort Lauderdale will explain, many of the rules that apply to personal representatives also apply to curators.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Who may be appointed personal representative : § 733.302, Fla. Stat.
  2. Compensation of personal representative : § 733.617, Fla. Stat.
FL. Stat, Section 733.501- Curators

(1) When it is necessary, the court may appoint a curator after formal notice to the person apparently entitled to letters of administration.  The curator may be authorized to perform any duty or function of a personal representative.  If there is great danger that any of the decedent's property is likely to be wasted, destroyed, or removed beyond the jurisdiction of the court and if the appointment of a curator would be delayed by giving notice, the court may appoint a curator without giving notice.

(2) Bond shall be required of the curator as the court deems necessary.  No bond shall be required of banks and trust companies as curators.

(3) Curators shall be allowed reasonable compensation for their services, and the court may consider the provisions of s. 733.617.

(4) Curators shall be subject to removal and surcharge.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are an interested party in a probate proceeding and you have question related to the use of curators, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.501- Curators, it is important that you discuss your concerns with an experienced estate attorney serving Fort Lauderdale. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over two decades of experience representing clients in matters related to the personal representative appointment process, probate, and estate administration and understand the rules of Florida estate law. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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