Q: What is the most common mistake you find in your practice?

most common estate planning mistake

Answer:  Naming an out of state –non-blood related– Personal Representative. We see this mistake made in a few Wills every year: the decedent names a non-resident of Florida, such as a close friend, or an out of state attorney as their Personal Representative. These individuals would not qualify to serve under Florida Law. 

The answer is thoroughly outlined in Fla. Stat. §733.304. A nonresident who is not domiciled in the state of Florida cannot qualify as Personal Representative unless:

  1. A legally adopted child or adoptive parent of the decedent;
  2. Related by lineal consanguinity to the decedent [a/k/a blood relative];
  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 who otherwise qualified under this section.

This mistake is a good example of why reviewing your Estate Planning documents every few years with the help of your Attorney is crucial to avoid mistakes. If you are unsure about the named Personal Representative in your Estate Plan or do not have an Estate Plan at all, make an appointment with an Estate Planning Attorney where you live. If you are located in the Daytona Beach area, call my office for a free consultation.

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