Can You Change an Executor in Florida?

by Michael Butler

In Florida, the executor of a will is a called the "personal representative." This is the person either named in a will, or appointed by a probate court to administer the estate of the deceased. While a person is alive, he can change the person he named as the personal representative in his will. The probate court can also remove a personal representative it appoints.

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Will Creator

If you have second thoughts about who you named as personal representative in your will, you can add a codicil to your will or write a new will at any time to appoint someone else as your personal representative. In Florida, you can even appoint some financial institutions as your personal representative. Under normal circumstances, the probate court will appoint whomever you name in your will. If you have more than one will, each naming a different person as personal representative, the person named in the most current will is who the court will appoint as personal representative.

At the Beginning of Probate

The court does not have to appoint the personal representative you name in your will if that person is not fit to serve. For example, if the person you name has a conflict of interest, the probate court can appoint someone else. So, if you name someone who is unlikely to be fair to your other beneficiaries, there is a chance that a court may appoint someone else. Additionally, the court will not appoint a minor or someone who is incompetent.

Resignation

The person you name in your will as a personal representative does not have to serve in that capacity. He can refuse the appointment from the court. Additionally, if he does accept the appointment, he can resign latter. To resign, the personal representative must file notice of resignation with the probate court and serve it on all interested parties. The personal representative can also suggest a successor for the court to appoint. Generally, the court will appoint a close family member to serve as the second personal representative in Florida.

Removal

If the personal representative does not carry out his duties or mismanages the estate, the court can remove and replace him. Any interested party can petition the court to remove the personal representative. The court can also do so on its own initiative. If removed, the former personal representative will have to file an accounting of the estate with the probate court within 30 days of removal. He must also deliver the property of the estate and any documentation to the new personal representative. Failure to do either is grounds for contempt of court.