Under Florida law, individuals who are named personal representatives in the will, surviving family members, and beneficiaries have preference to serve as the personal representative of an estate. Section 733.301 of the Florida Statutes ranks the order of preference depending on whether the decedent died with or without a will. If a higher ranked individual is not willing and able to serve, the next person on the list can be appointed. The court may appoint a curator to administer the estate if none of the preferred individuals can serve.
Here is a summary of the order of preference pursuant to Florida Statute 733.301 for both testate and intestate estates:
|Order of preference if the Decedent died with a valid will (testate)||1. The person named in the will to serve as Personal Representative is the FIRST PICK.||2. The person selected by a majority in interest of the person entitled to the estate.||3. A person who would take under the will. If more than one person will take under the will, the court will choose the best qualified.||Order of preference if the Decedent died without a valid will (intestate)||1. The surviving spouse.||2. The person selected by most of the heirs.||3. The heir with the closest relation to the decedent. For example, a decedent’s brother will have preference over a grandchild. If there are two brothers, the court will choose the most qualified.|
If you are wondering if you have preference to serve as personal representative, or you want to object to someone serving as personal representative who has preference, an experienced probate attorney at Lavender Greenberg can help you evaluate your options.