There are various reasons people put off planning how their estates will be handled in the event of their deaths, but regardless of their motives, their actions can cause strife among their surviving family members. For example, if a person dies without a will, the personal representative for the estate will most likely be appointed in accordance with Florida law. If other family members determine the statutorily preferred individual is unsuitable, though, they may object to the appointment. Recently, a Florida court discussed the grounds for granting petition for the appointment of a personal representative in a matter in which a woman died intestate. If you need help with a probate issue, it is smart to meet with a capable Florida estate planning attorney to evaluate your rights.
History of the Case
It is reported that the mother died in late 2019. She did not have a will at the time of her death. She was survived by two adult sons, and Florida law favored the appointment of the older son as the personal representative of her intestate estate. Prior to the appointment, the younger son filed a petition asking to be appointed as the personal representative on the grounds that the older son was unqualified. The court granted the petition, and the older son appealed. The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.
Appointing a Personal Representative for an Intestate Estate
Under Florida Statute Section 733.033, the courts may appoint anyone over the age of eighteen who has not been convicted of a felony and is not physically or mentally unable to perform the as the personal representative of an estate. Probate courts have discretion with regards to the act of appointing a personal representative for an intestate estate.
In cases in which the record supports the conclusion that the preferred individual is devoid of the necessary characteristics and qualities, the court may exercise its discretion and refuse to appoint the individual as the personal representative of the estate. Here, the record established that the older brother was a former member of the Florida bar, who was reprimanded on numerous occasions and eventually disbarred due to conduct that demonstrated a disrespect of the law. Thus, the appellate court found that the trial court accurately determined he was unsuitable to act as the personal representative of the estate and affirmed the order appointing the younger brother as the personal representative.
Speak to a Skillful Florida Attorney
When a person dies without a will, the courts will generally administer the individual’s estate in accordance with the law, which may impair the rights of any surviving family members. If you need help with a probate issue, it is advisable to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The skillful Florida estate planning lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A., are adept at handling complex estate and probate matters, and if you engage our services, we will work tirelessly to help you seek the results you desire. You can reach us at 800-283-7442 or via the online form to set up a meeting.