If a beneficiary knows about a summary administration, but is not given formal notice, are they barred from raising claims in collateral litigation?
Is a beneficiary of a Palm Beach estate entitled to formal notice of a petition for summary administration? If a beneficiary is not given formal notice of a summary administration proceeding, can they raise claims in collateral litigation? What do West Palm Beach trust and estates lawyers need to know about formal notice? What should my probate lawyer know about summary administrations? What if the record does not clearly indicate whether or not formal notice was executed? To learn more about summary administrations and formal notice, you should read a November 15, 2017 Fourth DCA opinion, Wolf v. Doll.
In Wolf v. Doll, the trial court concluded that, because Wolf knew about a petition for summary administration and did not raise claims then, she could not raise the claims in later litigation. Did the Fourth DCA agree? The controlling Florida Statute required that “formal notice” be given to all beneficiaries of the petition for summary administration. In this case, there is no proof that Wolf received formal notice. Wolf was “aware of the probate proceeding” but that is not enough! If Wolf was given formal notice, which the record does not clearly indicate, she would not be entitled to raise her claims in the collateral litigation. However, if she was not given proper notice, her collateral claims are not barred. To read the case in its entirety, click here.