Can I Object to Probate Proceedings?
During probate, a deceased individual’s property is distributed to the parties with a legal right to the property. However, there is a process to file objections if you believe that a loved one’s estate is not probated properly.
Read below for more information about objecting to probate proceedings in Naples, Florida.
Who Can Object to Probate Proceedings in Naples?
Any “interested person” can object to proceedings in Naples, Florida. An interested party is anyone who can reasonably expect to be affected by the outcome of the probate proceeding. Common examples of interested parties include:
• Surviving spouses;
• Personal representatives; and
• The decedent’s creditors.
When Can You Contest the Validity of a Will in Naples?
You cannot object to a will just because you dislike terms and believe you were not treated fairly. You must have a legal basis for believing the will is invalid. Under Florida law, you can contest a will for the following reasons:
• Undue Influence. Undue influence occurs when a will does not represent that testator’s knowing and free will. Instead, the terms of the will are the product of inappropriate persuasion, duress, fraud, force, or coercion.
• Forgery. Forgery occurs when the signature of a will is faked or when the will is modified by someone other than the testator after it was signed and without their knowledge or consent.
• Fraud. Fraud occurs when the testator is tricked into signing the will. Often this happens when the testator is told they are signing a different, often unimportant, document.
• Lack of mental capacity. A testator must have sufficient mental capacity when executing a will for it to be valid. There is sufficient mental capacity if the testator understands: 1) the nature and extent of the property to be disposed of; 2) their relationship to the individuals who would benefit under the will, and 3) the effect of the will when executed.
• Execution requirements were not met. Specific requirements must be met for a will to be valid in Florida. For example, the will must be executed in the presence of two witnesses, signed by the testator, and the testator must be at least 18 years old.
Can You Object to a Naples Probate Proceeding When the Testator Dies Without a Will?
When someone dies without a will, they are said to die intestate. Their estate is probated, and Florida law determines where the property is distributed. You can object to an intestacy proceeding if you do not believe you are receiving your rightful share of the estate. Common objections relate to a surviving spouse’s elective share or the inheritance to children from outside the marriage.
Can You Object to The Personal Representative in a Naples Probate Proceeding?
The third type of probate objection relates to the personal representative. You can object to the appointment of a personal representative if you do not believe they are legally qualified. In Naples, a personal representative must be:
• A Florida resident or related to the decedent;
• Mentally and physically able to perform;
• At least 18 years old; and
• Not have been convicted of a felony.
Furthermore, personal representatives have a fiduciary responsibility to the estate. If they breach their duties, you can object, and the personal representative can be removed or ordered to repay the estate for any damages they caused. An example of a breach of fiduciary duty is the management of estate assets.
How Do You Object to Probate Proceedings in Naples?
If you want to object to probate proceedings in Naples, Florida, you must file a petition with the court that outlines the elements of your case. After you file your petition, there will be a court hearing where each side can present evidence to the judge proving their case.
If you want your objection to be successful and your inheritance protected, you should work with an experienced Naples probate attorney. An attorney will represent your interests throughout the process. A qualified attorney, such as James R. Nici, will have a thorough knowledge of the applicable laws and local procedures. You must meet strict deadlines when filing a probate object. Your lawyer will ensure that documents are correctly filed on time.
Call A Naples Probate Lawyer
If you have questions about objecting to a probate proceeding, you should contact Nici Law Firm. James R. Nici is an experienced Naples attorney with over 25 years of experience. Contact our office today at (239) 449-6150 or use our web form to set up a free consultation.