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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Monday, May 16, 2016

Who Should You Select as Your Executor?

When you consider your executor, or as is commonly known in Florida your personal representative, it is likely the last person you will ever ask to do something for you. Studies show that most people name a family member or friend as the executor of their will. But is that the right choice?

 Florida has very specific rules about who can serve in this role as an estate goes through probate, debts and taxes are paid and the balance gets transferred to the people entitled to it under your will.

 Florida statutes say your personal representative must be at least 18 years old and mentally and physically capable of serving – that is, not judged incapacitated by a court. Like many other states, Florida prohibits people who have felony convictions from serving as an executor. In addition Florida law restricts certain types of corporations from serving as your representative. While you can name a bank, trust company or savings and loan association as your personal representative, it must be authorized to act as a fiduciary in the state. So you should be careful about appointing a corporation to represent your estate. It’s almost always best to name an individual; consider an institution only if you don’t know anyone you trust enough to serve, or your estate is very large and complex.

Florida also maintains restrictions on out-of-state executors. It makes sense to name an executor who lives near you to handle day-to-day matters for weeks, months or longer. But if you must appoint an executor who lives out of state, Florida law requires they be related to you by blood, marriage or adoption.

 On the other hand, if you are being asked to be an executor by a non-relative, you might want to consider the time, effort and obligation for which you are committing. Taking on that role can be fraught with complications.

 The best thing for everyone involved may be to clear all this up with the help of a qualified elder law attorney well in advance, so everyone knows what to anticipate.

 


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