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Can an estate have two personal representatives?

Some individuals may designate two personal representatives instead of one in their will. Their intentions may be to not hurt any feelings by only choosing one. But having two personal representatives, referred to as joint personal representatives or co-personal representatives complicates a probate administration.

Florida probate statute Section 733.615(1) states that “if two or more persons are appointed joint personal representatives, and unless the will provides otherwise, the concurrence of all joint personal representatives appointed […] is required on all acts connected with the administration and distribution of the estate.”

Documents will need to be signed by not one, but by two people. Decisions will need to be agreed to by both appointed representatives. This results in a more complicated administration and more time expended, especially if the personal representatives live a distance from each other. It can result in additional attorney fees if the retainer agreement is based on hourly pay to your attorney.

If you are preparing your will and are considering two personal representatives, you may be making that decision to avoid hurting someone’s feelings that would not be named. Consider having a discussion with the people involved. Explain the benefits of having one personal representative and that your decision to choose one person is not to be interpreted as a preference. Perhaps all those involved can reach a determination of who is better suited to be personal representative. An ideal personal representative will have the time and, maybe even some experience in legal or financial matters, though that is not required.

When you are trusted with probating a will that does name two personal representatives, one of the personal representatives can choose to waive their appointment. A Waiver and Consent to the other named person being appointed personal representative can be prepared and filed in the estate.  The Judge may then give authority to just the one individual as personal representative.

Whether you are tasked with preparing your will or administering the will of another, it is recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced attorney.

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