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Florida Probate Statute 733.504: Removal of Personal Representative;  Causes for Removal

In Florida, the personal representative is the person, bank, savings and loan, or trust company appointed by the probate court judge to oversee the administration of a decedent’s probate estate. As a fiduciary, the personal representative is required to manage the decedent’s estate according to Florida law for the benefit of the beneficiaries or heirs. Unfortunately, there are instances in which circumstances require that the probate court remove the personal representative. The court will only do so for good cause. To learn more about the process for removing a personal representative, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.504, Removal of personal representative;  causes for removal, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale probate lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Proceedings for Removal

If a personal representative fails to perform his job as required, or if he (or she) is no longer qualified, upon petition by an interested party, the probate court judge can remove the personal representative and revoke his letters of administration. Under Florida Statutes, section 733.504, Removal of personal representative; causes for removal, the reasons for removing a personal representative include:

  • Incapacity . Adjudication that the personal representative is incapacitated, or the personal representative having a physical or mental incapacity rendering him incapable of the discharge of his duties.
  • Failure to follow order of the court . Personal representatives are required to follow orders of the court. Failure to do so is grounds for removal.
  • Failure to account for estate assets . If the personal representative fails to account for the sale of estate property or to produce estate assets when so required, he may be removed.
  • Wasting assets. If the personal representative’s actions or inaction causes the wasting of estate assets, then there would be grounds for removal.
  • Bond requirement. There would be grounds for removing the personal representative if the personal representative fails to secure a bond as required by the probate court. As a probate attorney in Fort Lauderdale will explain, the probate court may waive the bond requirement. However, if the court requires bond, the representative must secure one in the amount required by the court.
  • Conviction of a felony. Convicted felons are prohibited from serving as personal representatives.
  • Insolvency of corporate representative. There would be grounds for removing a corporate personal representative such as a bank or trust, becomes insolvent.
  • Adverse interests. There would be grounds for removing the personal representative if the personal representative has a conflict of interest with the estate that will or may interfere with the administration of the estate as a whole.  
  • Will revoked. There would be grounds for removing the personal representative if the will was revoked that nominated the personal representative.
  • No longer resident. Being a resident of Florida is generally a requirement for being a personal representative. Unless the requirement was waived at the time of appointment, if the personal representative moves out of Florida during the administration process, there would be grounds for removal.
  • Not qualified. The personal representative is not longer qualified.

If you need more information about the reasons for removing a personal representative, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale probate attorney.

Consequences of Removal of Personal Representative

If the court orders the removal of a personal representative, the former personal representative’s letters of administration will be revoked. However, the estate must have someone to manage the administration process. The court will appoint a new personal representative, referred to as a successor personal representative.

To protect the estate until a new personal representative is appointed, the court may appoint a curator. A curator is a person who is appointed by the probate court to take charge of an estate until a personal representative is formally appointed.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Jurisdiction in removal proceedings: § 733.505, Fla. Stat.
  2. Proceedings for removal: § 733.506, Fla. Stat.
  3. Appointment of successor upon removal: § 733.5061, Fla. Stat.
  4. Accounting and discharge of removed personal representatives upon removal: § 733.508, Fla. Stat.
  5. Surrender of assets upon removal: § 733.509, Fla. Stat.
FL. Stat, Section 733.504- Removal of Personal Representative;  Causes for Removal

A personal representative shall be removed and the letters revoked if he or she was not qualified to act at the time of appointment.  A personal representative may be removed and the letters revoked for any of the following causes:

  1. Adjudication that the personal representative is incapacitated.
  2. Physical or mental incapacity rendering the personal representative incapable of the discharge of his or her duties.
  3. Failure to comply with any order of the court, unless the order has been superseded on appeal.
  4.  Failure to account for the sale of property or to produce and exhibit the assets of the estate when so required.
  5. Wasting or maladministration of the estate.
  6. Failure to give bond or security for any purpose.
  7. Conviction of a felony.
  8. Insolvency of, or the appointment of a receiver or liquidator for, any corporate personal representative.
  9. Holding or acquiring conflicting or adverse interests against the estate that will or may interfere with the administration of the estate as a whole.  This cause of removal shall not apply to the surviving spouse because of the exercise of the right to the elective share, family allowance, or exemptions, as provided elsewhere in this code.
  10. Revocation of the probate of the decedent's will that authorized or designated the appointment of the personal representative.
  11. Removal of domicile from Florida, if domicile was a requirement of initial appointment.
  12. The personal representative was qualified to act at the time of appointment but is not now entitled to appointment.

Removal under this section is in addition to any penalties prescribed by law.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have concerns over the actions of personal representatives and the application of Florida Statutes, section 733.504- Removal of personal representative;  causes for removal, it is important that you discuss your concerns with an experienced probate attorney serving Fort Lauderdale. The killed attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have significant experience representing clients in complex matters related to the administration of estates. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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