As the probate process begins for the estate of your loved one in Miami, you will likely immediately learn of the importance of a personal representative. A personal representative is the one appointed (either by your loved one in his or her will, the court, or your own nomination) to oversee the administration of the estate. Yet a personal representative’s authority is not automatic; it must first be granted by the court through the issuance of letters of administration. As that process is taking place, you may question who is managing your loved one’s estate.
Oftentimes, that is done by a curator. The Florida Probate Code defines a curator as one who takes charge of an estate while letters of administration are being issued. Typically, this a neutral party chosen by the court rather than through nomination. Section 733.501 of the Probate Code empowers a curator with the same authorities as a personal representative. Like a personal representative, a curator may be compensated for his or her time and services. And again, just as is the case with a personal representative, the court may remove one from the office of curator for a breach of duty.
Typically, the court must provide notice to you and other parties to the estate if a curator appointment is pending. However, if it is believed that a delay in appointing one would result in your deceased loved one’s property being wasted, destroyed, or removed beyond the jurisdiction of the court, such notice is not required. Other instances in which a curator may be appointed is when time is needed to resolve a challenge made by a party to the estate as to the qualifications of the designated personal representative.