How can one determine whether a personal representative is qualified to be the personal representative? Generally, in the State of Florida any person who is sui juris and is a resident of Florida at the time of the death of the decedent is qualified to act as personal representative. A person is sui juris if they have the capacity to manage their own affairs and are not under any legal disability. A legal disability is any characteristic which by operation of law precludes an individual from having the legal capacity to perform an act. Some legal disabilities that may disqualify a person from acting as a personal representative include being convicted of a felony, having been adjudicated as being mentally or physically unable to perform the duties or if one is under the age of 18.
For example, when Aunt Alice was thirty-five years old, she had a new will drafted and it was validly executed. The will named her twelve year old nephew, Ned as the personal representative of the estate. If Aunt Alice lived to be over eighty years old that would mean her nephew Ned was nearly sixty years old at the time of her passing. Ned’s jealous brother Benjamin contested Ned’s qualifications as the personal representative, alleging that Ned was not qualified to be the personal representative of Aunt Alice’s estate because when the will was executed, Ned was not sui juris because he was only twelve years old at the time.
Assuming Ned still has legal capacity to conduct his own affairs, has not been convicted of a felony and is mentally and physically able to perform the duties of a personal representative, Ned has satisfied all of the qualifications required of a personal representative.
As long as the personal representative is qualified when the decedent dies, it does not matter whether the personal representative was qualified when the decedent’s will was executed.
If you are interested in contesting the qualifications of a personal representative, you should consult an attorney to establish a proper strategy to accomplish that goal.