Under Florida probate practice, the person appointed by the probate court to oversee the estate is known as the “Personal Representative.” Many people refer to this as an “Executor” and although they are essentially the same, the correct term in Florida is Personal Representative. When a Personal Representative is appointed by the court, no Letters of Administration are issued until an Oath the Personal Representative (“Oath”) is filed with the court.
The Oath requires that certain specific matters be sworn to by the Personal Representative. First, the Personal Representative must swear that he or she is qualified within the provisions of Sections 733.302, 733.303, and 733.304 of the Florida Probate Code to serve as Personal Representative. In addition, the Personal Representative must swear to having reviewed these statutes and to understand the qualifications.
Next, the Personal Representative must certify under oath that the following statements are true:
(a) that he or she is 18 years of age or older.
(b) that he or she has never been convicted of a felony.
(c) that he or she is mentally and physically able to perform the duties of Personal Representative.
(d) that he or she is a resident of the State of Florida, or if not a resident, state the relationship to the decedent which qualifies the person. [For example, a nonresident of Florida may be appointed if he or she is related to the decedent by blood or marriage].
The Oath must state that the Personal Representative will promptly file and serve a notice on all interested persons at any time he or she knows that he or she would not be qualified for appointment and will include the reason for not then being qualified and the date on which the disqualifying event occurred. The Oath then goes on to state that the Personal Representative will faithfully administer the Estate of the decedent according to law.
The Oath must state the Personal Representative’s address and must state that the Personal Representative will file and serve a notice within 20 days on all interested persons in the event there is a change in the Personal Representative’s residence address, street address, or mailing address.
Lastly, the Oath must designate an agent for purposes of serving process or notice in connection with the Estate. Usually, this is an attorney who is a member of The Florida Bar and a resident of Florida. The agent must sign an acceptance accepting appointment as agent for the Personal Representative.