It is not necessary for people in Florida to name a family member to be the personal representative of their estate. Also known as an executor, the personal representative is the person or entity charged with administering the testator’s estate after he or she passes away. Under Florida law, a personal representative must either be a state resident, or a parent, child or close relative of the decedent.
Depending on the size of the estate, and the number of beneficiaries, heirs and creditors involved, the job can be complicated and time-consuming. Though the personal representative will be required to hire an attorney to help, not every testator has a spouse or child who would be able or willing to take on this task. However, when a decedent’s estate plan names a non-relative as personal representative, concerned relatives may wonder if the nomination suggests that the non-relative had undue influence over the deceased.
The recent death of blues legend B.B. King had led to a challenge in probate court, led by two of his daughters, against the woman appointed executor of King’s estate. They accuse the executor, who was King’s former business manager, of misappropriating King’s money during his life and isolating him from his children.
Even more seriously, the daughters say that the executor and King’s personal assistance poisoned him to death. This accusation has led to authorities launching a homicide investigation, including an autopsy. So far, King’s death at age 89 is being blamed officially on type 2 diabetes.
Whether you are acting as a personal representative, or you oppose the court’s appointment for the role, you will likely need an attorney to help make your case in court.