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Who Can Serve as a Personal Representative in Florida?

When writing a will, you will need to select who will be named as your personal representative. Other states commonly refer to this person instead as the “executor” or “executrix.” This person’s job is to handle your affairs after your death by protecting your property, paying any debts and taxes, and transferring your assets to those named in your will. However, you unfortunately cannot name any person you like as your personal representative as Florida has particular restrictions and qualifications on who is permitted to serve in this position.

Florida Requirements for Personal Representatives

All states have their own laws about who can serve as a personal representative of an estate. At minimum, your personal representative must be at least 18 years old and mentally and physically capable of serving. Anyone adjudicated to be incapacitated by a court or who had a felony conviction may not serve as a personal representative.

Most people will appoint a personal representative who is a family member or an entrusted friend or colleague who lives close by, as handling estate matters can sometimes take weeks or even months to complete. However, you can also name an out-of-state resident as your personal representative. Florida requires all out-of-state representatives to be related to the estate holder by blood, marriage, or adoption. This includes:

  • Parents, children, grandchildren, or any other person related by lineal consanguinity
  • Adopted children and adoptive parents
  • Siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, or any other person lineally related
  • Spouses of any of the individuals listed above

However, if there is no familial relation between you and another nonresident, they cannot serve as your personal representative. For instance, your friend who lives in another State cannot serve as your personal representative in Florida. However, the same individual could serve as your personal representative if they were a Florida resident and met all other state requirements. In the event you do not have a family member you wish to appoint nor do you have a friend located in Florida, you could consider appointing your local attorney to serve as your personal representative. You could also consider appointing a corporation such as a bank or trust company. If you wish to do this, the corporation must have authorization to act as a fiduciary in Florida.

Who you name as your personal representative is up to your discretion, so long as they meet the state’s requirements. When you are ready to name your personal representative or if you need to change the current individual you have named in order to be in compliance with Florida law, our estate planning lawyers can help you complete the process.

Sources:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/florida-make-will-31865.html

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/restrictions-who-can-serve-executor-florida.html

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/if-there-s-no-will-who-s-the-executor.html