Who is Barred from Serving as a Personal Representative in Florida Probate Administration?

The personal representative plays a vital role in managing and overseeing the probate process, ensuring the deceased individual’s wishes are carried out smoothly. In this part, we’ll look closer at the rules for becoming a personal representative and its eligibility criteria, specifically focusing on the disqualification of convicted felons.

Prohibited Personal Representatives: Who's Ineligible? | Florida Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer


Understanding the Personal Representative 

In Florida, “personal representative” is used instead of “executor,” as in other jurisdictions. This individual is entrusted with the responsibility of administering someone’s probate estate. However, not everyone is eligible to serve in this crucial role. 

Disqualification of Convicted Felons 

One significant criterion that disqualifies an individual from serving as a personal representative is a prior conviction for a felony. While this might seem obvious, it’s essential to highlight the potential complications that can arise if this criterion is overlooked. 

An Example to Illustrate 

Consider a scenario where a probate estate was handed over to a law firm without properly vetting the designated personal representative. Subsequently, upon appointment, it was casually revealed that the individual had a criminal history. This revelation led to complications, as the person was ineligible to serve as a personal representative. 

In such cases, it becomes imperative to rectify the situation promptly. The law firm had to approach the court, explain the oversight, and request the appointment of a qualified individual. This cautionary tale emphasizes the importance of thorough screening before appointing a personal representative. 

Restoration of Rights 

One common question is whether an individual with a criminal history whose rights have been restored can serve as a personal representative. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut law addressing this issue. Eligibility may vary depending on the judge overseeing the case, making it a gray area. While it’s possible to try, there is no guarantee of approval. 

In conclusion, understanding the criteria for selecting a personal representative is crucial to the smooth administration of probate estates in Florida. The disqualification of convicted felons underscores the need for diligence in the appointment process. Individuals considering serving in this capacity should know the potential hurdles associated with a criminal history.  

If you have questions or want personalized probate assistance, contact our experienced Fort Lauderdale probate lawyers at SJF Law Group today. 

Fort Lauderdale Probate Lawyers 

At SJF Law Group, probate and estate lawyers 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 attorneys at SJF Law Group, you get more than just an estate plan: you get peace of mind. As trusted probate and estate planning lawyers, we serve clients in the vibrant communities of Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties. To speak to one of our probate lawyers, please call our office at 954-580-3690 or email us at [email protected]


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