Can Non-Residents Serve as Personal Representatives?

Can Non-Residents Serve as Personal Representatives? | Florida Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer

As a reminder, a personal representative is the person appointed by the court to be the executor of someone’s estate during a probate administration.  

Who is Eligible to Serve as Your Personal Representative?  

Our focus shifts to individuals who live outside the State of Florida. Whether a non-resident can serve as personal represenative depends on their relationship to you. 

  • Adopted Child or Adoptive Parent: If your legally adopted child or legally adoptive parent doesn’t live in Florida, they can still serve as your personal representative.  
  • Lineal Consanguinity. Lineal consanguinity means a direct blood relationship. A blood relative is qualified to serve as personal representative.   
  • Someone Related by Lineal Consanguinity: Expanding on the above, a spouse or a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece, or someone blood related to any of those people can also be the personal representative.  

If the person lives outside of Florida, and they are not related to you or married to someone related to you, they are not qualified under Florida law to act as the personal representative.  

Navigating the Complexity 

Determining eligibility based on residence and relationships can be tricky. Sometimes you can’t be sure where someone will live at the time of your death. You also don’t always know who they’ll be married to. We’ve seen an instance where a probate judge disqualified someone from serving as personal representative because the relative that they had been married to passed away and they considered the death to mean that they were no longer married to that person.  

The Importance of Naming Alternates 

To mitigate these uncertainties, it’s important to name alternates in your documents, especially when preparing documents out of state. Florida’s rules are different from other states, and you may be surprised to find out that non-relatives living outside Florida are not going to be able to be appointed as the personal representative in a Florida probate administration. 

If you have any questions or would like personalized assistance, contact our experienced Florida probate attorneys at SJF Law Group today. 

Probate Lawyers in Florida 

At SJF Law Group, we expertly guide individuals through the complex probate process and capably handle all aspects of the creation, administration, and settlement of estates and trusts. We work hard to ensure that your wishes will be followed, and your loved ones taken care of when you are gone. When you work with the probate and estate planning attorneys at SJF Law Group, you get more than just an estate plan: you get peace of mind. Our Plantation, FL law firm works with clients in Broward, Miami-Dade, and West Palm Beach counties. If you need assistance, make sure to contact our law firm by calling 954-580-3690.



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