Undoubtedly, having a proper last will in place upon death is a fundamental piece to probate. During probate, a court will verify the document’s validity and proceed with a supervised proceeding to ensure the wishes outlined in the will are properly carried out.
However, what happens when one or multiple interested parties disagree with the provisions in the will. Depending on the case, it is possible to contest a will in Florida – but only within a limited timeframe.
Keep reading to discover the statute of limitations for legally contesting a will in Florida.
Statute of Limitations in Florida – Understanding the Concept
In US law, the legal term “statute of limitations” refers to any statute that bars the entry of legal claims once a preset period elapses. Overall, this limited timeframe to bring forth legal claims to a court applies to both civil and criminal cases.
Typically, the statute of limitations begins to count from the date when the plaintiff suffered the injury. Also, it may start running from the date it was discovered, or the date on which it would have been discovered by the injured party.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Contesting a Will in Florida? – As Provided by Law
Indeed, there is a specific time limit to contest a will in Florida – and it is not long. Florida Statutes §733.212 (2)(c) provides that “any interested person on whom a copy of the notice of administration is served must file on or before the date that is 3 months after the date of service of a copy of the notice of administration on that person any objection that challenges the validity of the will.”
Hence, any party interested in contesting or challenging the validity of a will for whatever reason must do so within three months- although there are a few exceptions to the rule.
In this sense, the statute adds that “the 3-month time period may only be extended for estoppel based upon a misstatement by the personal representative regarding the time period within which an objection must be filed.”
If that is not the case, the 3-month timeframe may not be extended for any other reason, including ” affirmative representation, failure to disclose information, or misconduct by the personal representative or any other person.”
Lastly, Florida Statutes §733.212 (2)(c) provides that “unless sooner barred by subsection (3), all objections to the validity of a will (…) must be filed no later than the earlier of the entry of an order of final discharge of the personal representative or 1 year after service of the notice of administration.”
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Contesting a Will in Florida? – Attention to Detail
Overall, the statute of limitations on contesting a will begins to run from the date of receipt of Notice of Administration. Considering Notice of Administration is served almost immediately after the appointment of the personal representative (considering formal administration), the timeframe is particularly limited.
Hence, any interest parties – the decedent’s surviving spouse, beneficiaries, a trustee (if there is a trust), and people who may be entitled to property subject to probate – must value every second available.