Posted on Friday, May 27th, 2022

If you’ve read our article on Why do I need an Attorney for Probate in Orlando?, then you may now be wondering what is a Personal Representative?  Who can serve as the Personal Representative?  And does the Personal Representative need a Probate Attorney Florida?  This article will explore all these areas and provide some tips on why you may need a Probate Attorney Orlando Florida.   

What is a Personal Representative?

A Personal Representative is the person appointed by the Court to handle the affairs of the deceased.  Well that clears it up, right?  In laymen’s terms, the Personal Representative gets the glorious job of completing all the paperwork, making all the phone calls, and tracking down all the other beneficiaries to get them to complete their forms and documents.  Well that sounds fun, sign me up!  Not convinced, lets discuss why you should petition to be appointed as Personal Representative.

The Personal Representatives job is to essentially step into the deceased’s shoes and help organize and distribute all the assets (and sort out the debts) that were left behind.  In the process, they collect all the assets, work with the beneficiaries, determine any possible creditors, file tax returns, pay and satisfy creditors’ claims, and distribute the asset to the beneficiaries.  This is an important job, and the law provides a fair amount of discretion to the Personal Representative.  For example, the Personal Representative may determine whether certain items or property will be sold, donated, or liquidated, and who will receive which assets, or which share(s) of the assets.

The Personal Representative is also usually someone who was familiar with the life and financial affairs of the deceased, most commonly being the surviving spouse or a child of the deceased.   Most often, the heirs of the Estate will agree and select which one of them will serve as the Personal Representative, unless the decedent appointed a Personal Representative in their Will.  Finally, the Personal Representative may be entitled to compensation for their services, unless the decedent waived compensation for them in their Will.

Who can serve as the Personal Representative? 

If the decedent died with a Last Will and Testament, otherwise known as Testate, and that Will appoints a Personal Representative, or alternates, then that person will have preference in appointment, so long as they otherwise qualify under Florida Law.  Preference in Appointment means that the Judge would appoint this person, unless there was a disqualifying reason determined by the Court.  In order to qualify, the Personal Representative must

  • Be over 18 years old, and either
  • A resident of the State of Florida, or
  • Related to the decedent by blood or marriage

If the decedent died without making a will, otherwise known as Intestate, then the Florida Statutes designate who has preference to be appointed the Personal Representative.  This includes the

  • Surviving spouse, followed by
  • The person selected by a majority of the heirs, followed by
  • The closest living heir (Heir nearest in degree)


Check out this flow chart below to help you determine if you are qualified to serve as the Personal Representative, or who else could have preference in appointment.

Who is Qualified to Serve as Personal Representative?


Preference in Appointment_ Personal Representative

Use of an Orlando Probate Attorney.

Of course, it’s never as simple as that.  There are always exceptions to the rule.  A Probate Attorney Orlando knows the ins and outs of how Probate works.  Want to find out if you need a Probate Attorney Orlando?  Contact Nishad Khan P.L. to discuss your Probate with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.