One or more of the persons interested in the decedent’s estate usually are unhappy with the personal representative (PR). Some have valid reasons, but others are influenced by sentiments of jealousy or by past rivalry. If you are unhappy with the PR of an estate in which you have an interest, you might be entitled to request the court to remove him or her. However, you must allege at least one of the below discussed causes to remove the PR of an estate. Animosity between you and the PR does not suffice to remove him or her from the appointment.
Causes to Remove the Personal Representative of an Estate
The Probate Code states the causes to remove the PR. Any interested person in the decedent’s estate can request the court to remove the PR if one of the following circumstances arise:
- A court enters judgment declaring the PR incapacitated.
- The PR suffers a mental or physical incapacity that renders him incapable of the discharge of his or her duties.
- The PR fails to comply with any order of the court, unless the order has been superseded by an appeal.
- The PR fails to account for the sale of property, or to produce and exhibit the assets of the estate when he or she is required to do so.
- The PR wastes or fails to properly administer the estate.
- The PR fails to give bond or security for any purpose.
- The PR is convicted of a felony.
- In the case of a corporate PR, the corporation lacks financial resources.
- The PR has an adverse interest against the estate that will or may interfere with the administration of the estate. However, this does not apply if the PR is decedent’s surviving spouse and he or she is seeking to exercise his or her right to the elective share, family allowance, or an exemption.
- The Probate Court revokes the decedent’s will designating the appointment of the PR.
- The PR no longer has a domicile in the State of Florida and domicile in Florida was a requirement of the initial appointment.
- The PR would not now be entitled to appointment.
Procedure to Remove the Personal Representative of an Estate
A proceeding to remove the PR may be initiated by the court, or after an interested person in the decedent’s estate files a petition requesting the court to remove him or her. If you are an interested person seeking to remove the PR and alleging one of the abovementioned causes to remove him or her, then you must file a petition for removal in the probate court administering the decedent’s estate. The court will remove the authority of the PR to act on behalf of the decedent if it grants the petition for removal. Also, the removal of the PR does not exonerate him or her from any liability. It is wise to contact an estate attorney for assistance with this issue. For an estate attorney in Florida, contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC at (904) 685 – 1200.