The appointment of a personal representative is probably the most essential part of probating any estate. In some cases, however, the situation may dictate that the personal representative cannot do his or her duty and must be removed. In such a case, the beneficiaries may wonder what they have to do to have a personal representative removed or if it is possible at all. The good news for beneficiaries or other interested parties is that removing a personal representative is possible, although best done with the assistance of a Miami estate attorney.
Courts in Florida prefer to keep to the wishes of the testator in estate matters where there is a will. Because of this, they will normally appoint the personal representative that was named in the will unless there is good reason not to. In cases where there was no will, the courts will appoint someone close to the estate, usually the spouse or other person who is close to the decedent. However, there are many instances where the named or proposed personal representative may not be the best for the interested parties of the estate.
Per Florida law, someone who does not have physical or mental capacity either when the proceedings start or during the proceedings, is a felon or, in cases of corporate personal representatives, is insolvent, will not be appointed by the court in the first place, even if they are nominated in the will.
There are reasons that an interested party can have a personal representative removed after they have already been appointed, reasons that have to do with the wrongful actions of the personal representative.
An interested party, who would be described loosely as any party who may have an interest in probate, can bring a petition to remove the personal representative for a number of reasons that have to do with not handling the estate properly according to Florida Probate Code. Some of these reasons include:
1. Not following a court order, except in cases where there has been a successful appeal of that order,
2. Not doing a proper accounting of the property and assets held by the estate,
3. Not handling the estate properly,
4. Not giving a bond when one was required,
5. With the exception of spouses, holding property that creates a conflict of interest with the estate, or
6. The personal representative is no longer living in Florida.
If the personal representative is removed, they would have to do a full accounting to the interested parties about what was done with all estate assets and where the estate stands.
If there is a probate matter where one of these things happens, any of the beneficiaries or heirs would be able to petition the court to have the personal representative removed. Courts do prefer to have a personal representative named in the will or set by statute as the personal representative. It is for the best for an interested party to have a Miami estate attorney on their side to make sure that the best outcome is met. Call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (786) 522-1411.