Who Can Act as a Personal Representative in a Probate Case?

Fri, Jul 1, 2011


Florida probate lawyerOne question that may cross your mind as you prepare to make your will is, “who can I name to be my personal representative?”  Well, the answer to that question can, and does, vary by state.  A Florida Probate Lawyer can tell you that a personal representative can be anyone you decide to appoint to handle your affairs after you have passed away. But there are a few rules that you should keep in mind when choosing someone who will handle this very important task for you and your loved ones.

A personal representative should first be someone you trust. If you have a large amount of financial wealth it might be important to appoint someone who will be able to handle your funds, property, and other things such as any minor children after you are deceased. In this instance it might be important to hire a Florida probate lawyer to help you set up your last will and testament. Together you can set up an estate trust which would handle your finances so it will be there for when your heirs need it. Depending on which type of estate trust you choose depends on how much say you have in what goes on with your finances and property before you die.

You can choose a person, a bank or trust company to be the personal representative, which is also called an administrator or executor of your will. According to the laws that govern probate in the State of Florida, your Sarasota Lawyer can be appointed as an executor, or any relative or close family friend who lives in Florida over the age of 18. If you appoint someone who is not a resident of the State of Florida, they must be either a blood relative or an adopted child in order to be a legal personal representative.

Of course there are other disqualifications that may make some ideal candidates unable to perform as a personal representative.  Examples include any person who is mentally or physically unable to perform their duties, has a criminal history with a felony, or is under the age of 18 at the time of your death. If you choose not to appoint a person to be your personal representative, the court will recognize your surviving spouse as your representative. If both you and your spouse are deceased, the person that a majority of the heirs agree on will be the personal representative. This person can be a Sarasota lawyer, an impartial person.

When a trust company or bank is chosen to look after your interests, they have to follow certain guidelines set by Florida probate law. They have to be incorporated in the State of Florida and must be authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in Florida. When a personal representative is appointed and they are from a bank or a trust company, Florida law states that they must be represented by a Florida probate lawyer in order to make sure they are following the procedures of probate court when representing the interests of your estate.

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