Probate is the proving of a deceased person’s Will, authenticating that the document was executed properly. It also means the time during which the executor, officially known as the Personal Representative, settles the deceased person’s estate. The probate process can be time consuming, and it’s even worse when the Personal Representative doesn’t live nearby. Proceedings in a Florida court with an out-of-state Personal Representative require a little extra attention.
There are two primary forms of probate administration in Florida: formal administration and summary administration. Informal administration, which does not require court supervision, is called “Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration.”
The personal representative’s duties include gathering a decedent’s assets, paying valid claims against the estate, and then disbursing remaining assets to the heirs according to the terms of the Will.
If there is no Will, an individual will file an application with the court asking to be appointed as personal representative (again, another word for executor) of the estate. The person serving as personal representative has the same duties as he or she would where there is a Will, but there may be more court supervision.
First, any Florida resident may serve as a Personal Representative of an estate, barring other exclusions like being under the age of 18 or having been convicted of a felony. The Probate Code states that a non-resident is not qualified to serve unless:
So, the first hurdle for an out-of-state Personal Representative is to prove that he or she is qualified to serve under Florida law. Once a non-resident qualifies to be the Personal Representative, the duties are the same – just long distance. Having a local advocate who understands Florida probate is a necessity.
If you’re serving as an out-of-state Personal Representative, a local attorney can walk you through the probate process. John Mangan is an experienced Florida estate planning attorney who is board certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates by the Florida Bar. At Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., we have assisted many clients with Florida probate. Call us at 772-324-9050 to set up an appointment or use our convenient Contact Form.