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Who can be the Personal Representative of an Estate in Florida?

There are many different forms of probate administration in Florida. Sometimes it may be necessary to appoint a "personal representative," referred to as an "executor" in other states, to conduct business on behalf of the deceased. The personal representative will be the person with authority to get information on the deceased's assets, pay the deceased's creditors when required by law and enter into contracts or deal with other matters.

In order to appoint a personal representative, a formal administration must be initiated. The first matter in the formal administration will be to open the probate and appoint a personal representative. Florida law outlines certain rules for who may be appointed the personal representative of an estate.

A person who is a resident of Florida at the time of the deceased’s death is qualified to act as a personal representative in Florida, unless they have been convicted of a felony, are mentally or physically unable to carry out the duties of the personal representative, or are under the age of 18.

A non-Florida resident may be eligible to be the personal representative only if they are a legally adopted child of the deceased, or are related by blood to the deceased or the deceased’s blood relatives, or are the spouse of any of the aforementioned qualified people. In other words, a friend who lives out of state will not be eligible to be personal representative of an estate in Florida.

Priority in appointing a personal representative is given to the person nominated in the deceased’s Will (if there is a Will), the person elected by the majority of the estate’s heirs, or another qualified heir. If no Will exists, then priority is given to the deceased’s surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse, then the person selected by a majority of the deceased’s heirs, or the heir in nearest degree.

In Florida, you are required to hire an attorney to represent you in most probate matters. Calling a probate lawyer should be one of the first steps you take after a loved one passes away to avoid dealing with creditors and other issues on your own. The sooner that you hire an attorney, the sooner you will be able to deal with estate issues in a way that will be most beneficial to the estate.

In addition to will and probate issues, our firm also takes on cases involving divorce, custody battles, relocation, domestic violence injunctions, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. While our main office is in Gainesville, we also handle family law matters through our satellite offices in Ocala, Chiefland, Lake City, and Palatka.
For help with your legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com

BY: Stephanie N. Mack, Attorney At Law

December 26, 2012
 
 
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(Alachua County)

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