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Estate Appeal — now or never in Florida !

Probate Information • Jan 14, 2023
post about Estate Appeal — now or never in Florida !

This legal commentary is on a Florida estate appeal. It will list each probate ruling which you MUST appeal within 30 days under the “new” Florida Rule 9.170. To learn more about a probate appeal or a homestead appeal, click those links for free commentary.

An estate appeal, or cross-appeal, may be necessary to enforce your rights or secure your inheritance.

Understanding the Basics

So, here are some of the basics to understanding an estate appeal in Florida. After all, every day in Florida, family members, beneficiaries, interested persons and personal representatives are faced with orders and judgments. Knowing if you can live with them, or if it makes sense to take an appeal, are challenges which many face.

In many instances, you have to wait until the end of your legal matter (e.g. trial) to file an appeal.

You only file an appeal if you believe that the probate court committed reversible error.

(For short video on an appeal regarding a petition to revoke probate, click here.)

More Basics — to help you understand

What do you do if you WIN in the probate court? And the other side appeals? Well, you have a couple of options. One, you may not want to spend the money on an experienced probate appellate attorney. Two, maybe someone else will defend the judgment or order and “fight” the appeal so you don’t have to. Or, three, maybe you file a limited cross-appeal. This may be done if you believe that there was one little, or limited, error that needs correcting.

Talk to your probate appeals lawyer about whether this makes sense or not. It’s a strategy call on your part. Also a financial call, right? Because appeals are not inexpensive. Especially if you are hiring a law firm that specializes in probate appeals. But, finally, on that matter, ask your appellate attorney if you can get attorneys fees and costs if you defend a successful appeal. (For a free Florida legal video on this topic, click HERE.) (You can also read more HERE) Remember: in probates, and appeals, there are fee-shifting statutes which may make the “losing” side pay others’ attorneys fees and costs.

OK, before we get into specific “appealable” orders, here is a link to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Remember that there is a special rule, 9.170, that permits you an appeal right now from a number of probate court orders. Put another way: if you want further review of a probate court order, and one of the issues is on the list below, you must file an appeal now. Or, you have to live with that order.

Estate Appeal — a list of orders you can appeal right now

Just a reminder that the rule 9.170 is an appellate rule, not a Florida Probate Rule.

Here is a list of orders or judgments which you can appeal right now under this unique Florida probate appellate rule:

  • motion to revoke letters of (probate) administration or letters of guardianship
  • petition to revoke probate (will contest)
  • probate lost or destroyed will
  • petition for administration
  • heirship (who inherits) (for a recent probate appeal on the subject of heirship and 9.170, click here)
  • removal of a fiduciary or personal representative
  • refuse to appoint a personal representative or guardian
  • petition re incapacity
  • approve settlement of minor’s claims
  • apportionment or contribution
  • determine an estate’s interest in property
  • exempt property, family allowance or homestead status
  • real estate sale
  • distributions
  • elective share
  • creditor’s claims against estate and independent actions
  • settle an account
  • discharge
  • award of attorneys fees or costs
  • settlement agreement (for attorneys fees in settlement agreements, click here)