As a court-supervised procedure, probate involves several court decisions that will determine the distribution of the decedent’s assets, as well as other related questions.
However, what should be done if the probate court decides to uphold an unexpected decision? For instance, how should one react upon receiving far less than expected? Keep reading to discover how to appeal a probate order in Florida.
Appealing a Probate Order – Understanding the Process
An interested party who believes a mistake has occurred in probate court must determine whether a final decision was issued, as no one can appeal from an incomplete order. Therefore, multiple court orders may be appealed in a probate case.
As provided by Rule 9.170 (b) of the Florida Appellate Rules of Procedure, with a few legal exceptions, “appeals of orders rendered in probate and guardianship cases shall be limited to orders that finally determine a right or obligation of an interested person as defined in the Florida Probate Code.”
The same statute adds that “orders that finally determine a right or obligation include, but are not limited to, orders that:
- Determine a petition or motion to revoke letters of administration or letters of guardianship
- Determine a petition or motion to revoke probate of a will
- Determine a petition for probate of a lost or destroyed will
- Grant or deny a petition for administration pursuant to Fla. Stat. §733.2123
- Grant heirship, succession, entitlement, or determine the persons to whom distribution should be made
- Remove or refuse to remove a fiduciary
- Refuse to appoint a personal representative or guardian
- Determine a petition or motion to determine incapacity or to remove rights of an alleged incapacitated person or ward
- Determine a motion or petition to restore capacity or rights of a ward
- Determine a petition to approve the settlement of minors’ claims
- Determine apportionment or contribution of estate taxes
- Determine an estate’s interest in any property
- Determine exempt property, family allowance, or the homestead status of real property
- Authorize or confirm a sale of real or personal property by a personal representative
- Make distributions to any beneficiary
- Determine amount and order contribution in satisfaction of elective share
- Determine a motion or petition for enlargement of time to file a claim against an estate
- Determine a motion or petition to strike an objection to a claim against an estate
- Determine a motion or petition to extend the time to file an objection to a claim against an estate
- Determine a motion or petition to enlarge the time to file an independent action on a claim filed against an estate
- Settle an account of a personal representative, guardian, or other fiduciary
- Discharge a fiduciary or the fiduciary’s surety
- Award attorneys’ fees or costs, or
- Approve a settlement agreement on any of the matters listed above or authorize a compromise pursuant to Fla. Stat. §733.708″
Ultimately, one should know that the appeals process can be lengthy and complex, and there is no guarantee an appeal will prevail. Hence, it is crucial to sit down with an expert attorney to determine whether an appeal is actually worth all the effort involved.