Hi, I’m Reed Bloodworth and I want to answer the questions: what is probate litigation? What’s involved in probate litigation? What is probate?
What is Probate Litigation?
The first thing we have to discuss is what’s probate? Probate is the formal process by which a decedent’s will is submitted to the court and authenticated. Meaning the court accepts, “yes, this is a will. It’s properly executed.”
Then, the personal representative is established. And the court oversees the personal representative as the personal representative gathers all of the decedent’s assets. The personal representative takes care of whatever outstanding debt there is, and then, disperses the assets of the decedent pursuant to the terms of the will.
Probate Litigation = Estate Litigation
That, in a nutshell is probate. Probate litigation is also called estate litigation. You may have heard both terms. Probate litigation is litigation that happens within the formal probate process.
What Happens When Someone Passes Away? So for example, when someone passes away.
- The personal representative submits the will for probate.
- The letters of administration are issued.
- And the personal representative sends these out to people that might be interested.
- Perhaps the decedent’s children or stepchildren or some family members or one of those family members, perhaps a son or a daughter receives this and says, “I don’t believe this is accurate. I think something happened here and this will is improper.”
Probate Litigation Occurs
So probate litigation occurs when and if a person filed a petition to revoke the probate or a petition to remove the personal representative. They would ask this because they believe something improper has taken place.
Common Probate Litigation Claims
Some common probate litigation estate litigation claims are: Undue Influence, Lack of Capacity and Tortious Interference with a testamentary expectancy. These are claims that someone who believes they should have been a beneficiary to an estate might bring in a probate case, and that all takes place within a formal probate process. So the litigation takes place before the probate judge.
It doesn’t take place as an independent action outside of probate, in circuit civil, for example. This type of litigation–probate litigation, estate litigation–is governed by certain rules. So you have the overriding rules Florida rules of civil procedure.
Florida Probate Code
But specific to probate, you also have the Florida Probate Code. The Probate Code provides a certain sets of rules that have to be followed inside the context of probate litigation.
You also have Florida Statute Chapter 733. This pertains to wills and probate and these are laws that you need to be familiar with in order to litigate in probate.
I Represent Personal Representatives & Beneficiaries
I represent both the personal representatives in probate litigation and potential beneficiaries seeking to perhaps set aside a will within probate litigation.
So give me a call. Let’s talk about what happened to you. Again, my name is Reed Bloodworth, Founding Partner of Bloodworth Law, PLLC. The office is located at 224 East Marks Street, Orlando, Florida.