What Can We Learn From Naomi Judd?

Country music singer Naomi Judd passed away on April 30, 2022.  Her last will was drawn up in 2017 and named her husband, musician Larry Strickland, as the executor of her estate.  The last will went on to give Larry “full authority and discretion” to do what he sees fit with properties within the estate, including selling or leasing them, without approval of any court or the “joinder of any beneficiary.”  Should Larry not be able to act as the executor, Larry’s brother, Reginald along with the president of her management and accounting firm, Daniel Kris Wiart, were named as successor co-executors.

Naomi’s estate is estimated to be worth $25M.  Obviously missing from the last will was any mention of her two famous daughters, Wynonna and Ashley Judd.  To date, there have not been any challenges to Naomi’s last will and the family came together to keep the investigation file as to Naomi’s passing sealed and out of the public records.  This may be fodder for a future newsletter….hmmmmm.

So, what can we learn from this musical family?

We can discuss who may serve as a personal representative (or executor) of an estate in Florida.  Here in the Sunshine State, the Personal Representative must either be a Florida resident OR meet the criteria of §733.304 Fla. Stat. 

The statute states that a person who is not domiciled in the state cannot qualify as personal representative unless the person is:

(1) A legally adopted child or adoptive parent of the decedent;

(2) Related by lineal consanguinity to the decedent;

(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 otherwise qualified under this section.

If Naomi were a Floridian, her husband can act as the personal representative regardless of whether he was a FL resident.  Naomi’s husband’s brother may also act as the personal representative, according to the statute, regardless of whether he was a FL resident.  However, since the president of the accounting/management firm is not related to Naomi per the statute, he would have to be a FL resident to accept the role of personal representative of her estate.

And there you have it.  We sometimes can circumvent these rules by posting a bond with the Court or holding a hearing with the Judge and explaining the circumstances, but it’s always best to have someone that’s either a Florida resident or related per the rules. 

We also learn that an outside threat often brings a family together.  Awwwww, that’s nice.

Portrait of Odelia Goldberg, Esq.

With over 50 years of combined experience, our probate, estate planning, real estate, elder law and asset protection attorneys provide peace of mind for our clients throughout South Florida.

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