Probate is the legal process by which a person's debts are paid and assets owned by the decedent are distributed upon death. Probate litigation frequently arises in the context of a Will contest. When a decedent has created a Last Will and Testament and it is offered for probate, Florida law grants creditors and heirs various rights, privileges and limitations that must be strictly followed.

When a loved on passes on, one would hope the wishes designated in a will will be carried out smoothly and without complications. Unfortunately, probate litigation has become one of the most contested areas of the law in that State of Florida. There are situations when a viable injustice has been brought to light or a family needs probate litigation to prevent an injustice from happening.

Typically, Florida probate litigation is first considered by an individual after they receive a Notice of Administration informing them an objection to a probate proceeding must be commenced within a specific period of time or be forever barred.

Probate litigation is the broad concept of challenging:

  • The contents of a Will;
  • A provision of a Will;
  • The appointment of an executor;
  • Or the entire Will document itself.

While every probate estate is unique, most involve the following steps:

  • Filing of a petition with the proper probate court.
  • Notice to heirs under the Will or to statutory heirs (if no Will exists).
  • Petition to appoint Executor (in the case of a Will) or Administrator for the estate.
  • Inventory and appraisal of estate assets by Executor/Administrator.
  • Payment of estate debt to rightful creditors.
  • Sale of estate assets.
  • Payment of estate taxes, if applicable.
  • Final distribution of assets to heirs.

When you must legally address Probate issues it is important to be made fully aware of your legal rights, options, and to have aggressive, detailed, and dedicated legal representation in your corner. Hiring an experienced Probate attorney may provide you the best opportunity to achieve your desired outcome, or a fair and reasonable resolution.