The Process of Removing A Personal Representative in Florida
A personal representative is a person that is designated to handle another person’s probate. These tasks may include handling the deceased person’s property, notifying any and all heirs and beneficiaries, handling taxes, debts and dealing with creditors, transferring the deceased person’s property, filing necessary documents, and generally closing probate after the process is complete.
The personal representative may also be entitled to other business affairs of the deceased person, such as filing notices with the Internal Revenue Service, filing income taxes on behalf of another person, filing for an employee identification number, and paying bills/expenses.
If a person is 19 years of age or older, he/she may be able to serve as a personal representative. In most cases, the personal representative is specified in the deceased person’s will. Or, a personal representative may be appointed by a probate court. It may be:
- the spouse of the deceased person who is outlined as a beneficiary in the will
- a person who receives an asset as outlined in the will
- a spouse of the deceased person who is not outlined as a beneficiary in the will
- an heir
- a creditor
In most cases, probate courts follow the said order when determining who should be assigned as the personal representative of a deceased person. For more information on Florida probate law, and how to handle, appoint or remove a personal representative, you should contact a probate law firm.
Removing a Personal Representative During Probate
Removal of a personal representative is sometimes necessary. Other times, family feuds, monetary issues and other circumstances contribute to tension, which force family members to question the actions, behavior and motives of the personal representative of the deceased. There are a variety of reasons for removing a personal representative. While probate courts do have the authority to remove, replace and assign personal representatives at their leisure, there has to be a compelling and justified reason for doing so. The court must act with good faith.
Common Reasons for Removal of a Personal Representative
Common reasons for removal of a personal representative that are accepted in court are any of the following:
- The personal representative may be ill, overseas, or otherwise unable to physically and cognitively handle the deceased person’s estate and business arrangements; the personal representative may be incompetent.
- The personal representative may have exploited, mismanaged or misused funds/estate.
- The personal representative may have embezzled funds for his/her own self expenses that were not approved.
- The personal representative may have breached duties as a fiduciary.
- The personal representative may have left the state that the deceased person’s property resides.
- The personal representative may have neglected the deceased person’s property and/or business affairs.
To find out if your reason for removing a personal representative is legitimate and will be acknowledged in court, you should contact experienced probate attorneys at the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates.
If you believe that a personal representative should be removed, you should file a petition with the court, express your concerns with the court, and/or request supervisal administration. A hearing will then be scheduled and the personal representative will be notified. During the hearing, both parties may present information to support their claim and reject the others.
Should the court find that the personal representative acted illegally or inappropriately, the court may assess a surcharge action, which is a process used to restore losses to an estate caused by the fiduciary.
A Probate Lawyer Can Help
While probate courts are happy to reassign personal representatives when necessary, there has to be compelling justification and evidence to prove that such personal representative is not worthy or capable of the job. This is why you need the assistance of an experienced probate attorney.
A probate lawyer can help you understand Florida probate and the laws pertaining to estate and property; undergo thorough investigation to help you locate evidence, witnesses and expert support; help you understand the terms and conditions of the deceased person’s will, including technical terms and percentages; ensure that your documents to remove the personal representative is filed in a proper and timely order; and provide general support and guidance.
Probate Attorneys in Gainesville, FL
At the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates, our experienced probate lawyers are well-versed in probate litigation, formal administration and the basic processes that are necessary for deceased persons. We proudly serve Gainesville, FL, and the surrounding areas through a wide variety of probate matters and issues.
For all of your concerns regarding the removal of a personal representative, rely on our probate law firm.