probate

Surcharge & Removal of Personal Representatives

What can happen to a personal representative who is found to have breached their fiduciary duty to the Estate’s beneficiaries? The answer is that a judge can “surcharge” (i.e. assess monetary damages against) the personal representative. Additionally, the Court can remove the personal representative and insert a new estate administrator.

Fla. Stat. §733.619 provides (in part) that “a personal representative is individually liable for obligations arising from ownership or control of the estate or for torts committed in the course of administration of the estate only if personally at fault.”

Fla. Stat. §733.504 provides (in part) that a personal representative may be removed, and the letters revoked for any of the following causes:

1. Adjudication that the personal representative is incapacitated.

2. Physical or mental incapacity rendering the personal representative incapable of the discharge of his or her duties.

3. Failure to comply with any order of the court, unless the order has been superseded on appeal.

4. Failure to account for the sale of property or to produce and exhibit the assets of the estate when so required.

5. Wasting or maladministration of the estate.

6. Failure to give bond or security for any purpose.

7. Conviction of a felony.

8. Insolvency of, or the appointment of a receiver or liquidator for, any corporate personal representative.

9. Holding or acquiring conflicting or adverse interests against the estate that will or may interfere with the administration of the estate as a whole.

10. Revocation of the probate of the decedent’s will that authorized or designated the appointment of the personal representative.

11. Removal of domicile from Florida, if domicile was a requirement of initial appointment.

12. The personal representative was qualified to act at the time of appointment but is not now entitled to appointment.

Daniel A. Seigel has successfully prosecuted and defended numerous cases challenging the actions of personal representatives. Attorney Seigel is relentless in obtaining the discovery (including all pertinent witnesses and physical evidence) necessary to establish his client’s case.

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