Extensions of Time in Florida Probate Cases
Can deadlines be extended in your Florida probate lawsuit? What can you do if you need more time to file an answer to a motion in your trust litigation case? If a Florida Statute provides a deadline, how seriously should that deadline be taken? What should my Florida probate lawyer know about filing a timely homestead election in a West Palm Beach or Miami inheritance case? How can an experienced probate lawyer help to ensure that I do not miss important deadlines?
Hiring a Probate Litigation Lawyer in Florida
In the probate world, there are many deadlines that must be met. In order to know all of these deadlines, your Florida probate lawyer must be very familiar with the Florida Statutes and Probate Code. Furthermore, your probate lawyer must know the rules of the Florida probate courts.
How do you choose a lawyer who knows all of this? You should consider hiring a probate or trust law firm that specializes in Florida probate matters. If you choose a probate-focused firm, like Pankauski Hauser Lazarus PLLC, your lawyers are constantly handling probate issues and meeting probate deadlines. Therefore, they will be especially knowledgeable about the statutes pertaining to your Florida probate lawsuit. Secondly, you should choose an estate lawyer or probate litigator who is experienced. For example, the law partners at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus have over 20 years of experience practicing Florida law.
Florida Deadlines and Probate Litigation
In certain situations, deadlines can be extended in your Florida probate case. For example, if you hire a new Florida estate lawyer, and that lawyer needs more time to prepare a response to discovery, the lawyer can ask for more time. If your West Palm Beach trust lawyer needs more time to answer the lawsuit, he or she can also talk to the other side and request an extension.
Experienced Palm Beach probate litigators regularly grant extensions if the extension does not prejudice their clients. This is because many probate lawyers are able to work productively together, even if they are representing opposite sides. Furthermore, probate lawyers know that they may need an extension themselves one day.
It is important to note, however, that certain deadlines are set by Florida Statutes or the Florida probate courts. These deadlines must be taken very seriously. For example, if you have 90 days to contest the Florida will, your probate lawyer needs to file the necessary paperwork\ within that time frame.
There are tolling agreements that can be entered into with the other side. In some circumstances, these written agreements can extend the statute of limitations.
What happens if you just ignore a deadline? You should read a recent Second DCA opinion, Samad v. Pla to find out.
Failure to File a Timely Homestead Election in Florida
Samad v. Pla is a recent opinion that involves a surviving spouse and her election to take an undivided one-half interest in the decedent’s homestead property. Here, the surviving spouse neither made the election to take an undivided one-half interest in the homestead nor filed a petition as described in 732.401(b) within the six-month period. At seven-and-a-half months, the surviving spouse moved for an extension of time to make the election, claiming excusable neglect. The trial court granted her request. The other party appealed. The appellate court decided that, because the surviving spouse failed to satisfy the requirements in section 732.401(2), the trial court erred as a matter of law in granting her the extension to file the election. Therefore, the Florida trial court’s decision was reversed.
To learn more about Florida Statute 732.401, surviving spouse inheritance rights, important deadlines, and homestead, consider reading Samad v. Pla in its entirety. If you are looking to interview an experienced probate lawyer to help you timely file everything so that you can get your inheritance, call (561) 268-0233 ext.101.