If you are a beneficiary or heir of a Florida probate estate, you want to be sure that the personal representative is doing his or her job in compliance with the law. You want to be sure that the personal representative and his or her attorney are doing what is necessary to carry out the decedent’s (the person who passed away) wishes. However, sometimes a personal representative may not conduct themselves appropriately. Sometimes, the personal representative may put his or her own interests ahead of the interests of the beneficiaries of the estate. Sometimes the personal representative may not obey an order of the Florida probate court. In these cases, there may be grounds to remove the personal representative from the probate case and replace him or her with a different personal representative.
The removal of a personal representative in a Florida probate case is governed by section 733.504, Florida Statutes. Under section 733.504, a personal representative can be removed for any of the following reasons:
- Adjudication that the personal representative is incapacitated.
- Physical or mental incapacity rendering the personal representative unable to fulfill the duties of the position.
- Failure to comply with an order of the probate court, unless the order was overturned on appeal.
- Failure to account for the sale of property when required.
- Wasting or misadministration of the estate.
- Failure to give bond or security for any purpose.
- Conviction of a felony.
- Insolvency or the appointment of any receiver or liquidator for a corporate personal representative.
- Holding or acquiring conflicting or adverse interests against the estate that will or may interfere with the administration of the estate as a whole. This cause for removal shall not apply to the surviving spouse because of the exercise of the right of the elective share, family allowance, or exemptions, as provided elsewhere in this code.
- Revocation of probate of the decedent’s will that authorized or designated the personal representative.
- Removal of domicile from Florida, if Florida domicile is a requirement.
- The personal representative was entitled to act at the time of appointment but is not now entitled to appointment.
As you can see, there are a multitude of issues that can arise that will lead to the removal of a personal representative from a Florida probate case. If the personal representative in a Florida probate administration may be guilty of any of the above actions, then under Florida Probate Rule 5.025, an adversary proceeding will need to be started against the personal representative. Proceedings for the removal of a personal representative are also governed by section 733.506, Florida Statutes.
The procedure for the removal of a personal representative is complex. If you are an interested person in a Florida probate estate and think that the personal representative needs to be removed, you need to consult with a Florida probate attorney. Our firm offers free consultations for all probate matters and we do handle proceedings to remove a personal representative. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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