We often have clients that want to nominate non-residents of Florida to serve as the Personal Representative of their Florida probate estate. In doing so, it is important to closely read the applicable Florida statute, as Florida law is very specific with respect to when a non-resident of Florida can qualify to be the personal representative of a Florida probate estate.
Pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 733.304, a person who is not domiciled in the state of Florida cannot qualify to serve as personal representative unless the person is:
1. A legally adopted child or adoptive parent of the decedent;
2. Related by lineal consanguinity to the decedent;
3. A spouse or a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the decedent, or someone related by lineal consanguinity to any such person; or
4. The spouse of a person otherwise qualified under this section.
Given this statutory language, a close friend who does not reside in Florida would not qualify, nor would an out-of-state attorney. Accordingly, make sure the non-resident individual to be named personal representative falls into one of these four categories so they will qualify to serve under Florida law.