A: The personal representative, the attorney, and other professionals whose services may be required in administering the probate estate (such as appraisers and accountants), are entitled by law to reasonable compensation. The personal representative’s compensation is usually determined in one of five ways:
(1) as set forth in the will;
(2) as set forth in a contract between the personal representative and the decedent;
(3) as agreed among the personal representative and the persons who will bear the impact of the personal representative’s compensation; (4) the amount presumed to be reasonable as calculated under Florida law, if the amount is not objected to by any of the beneficiaries; or
(5) as determined by the judge.
A: If the decedent did not have a valid will, the surviving spouse has the first right to be appointed by the judge to serve as personal representative. If the decedent was not married at his or her death, or if the decedent’s surviving spouse declines to serve, the person or institution selected by a majority in interest of the decedent’s heirs will have the second right to be appointed as personal representative. If the heirs cannot agree among themselves, the judge will appoint a personal representative after a hearing is held for that purpose.