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Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights and Miami Appeals

What We Do Nov 5, 2020
post about Surviving Spouse  Inheritance Rights and Miami Appeals

Are you a surviving spouse involved in an inheritance dispute in Miami, Florida? Has your wife or husband recently passed away leaving a house or condo behind? Florida provides surviving spouse inheritance rights that are greater and more valuable than in other areas. Part of a good estate lawyer’s job is to get a widow or widower all they are entitled to. But, if you are a family member, do you know the limitations? We haver previously provided important Florida Inheritance legal commentary on spousal rights. Do you know your inheritance rights and by when you must take action? Are you already involved in inheritance litigation where an appeal may end up being filed?

Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights

More Than You Can Imagine

Miami lawyers know that surviving spouses have important inheritance rights. However, often times, probate battles between the decedent’s children from another marriage and the surviving spouse arise. Therefore, it’s important to have a Miami litigator on your side to help you get your inheritance.

Also, Miami probate attorneys know that some inheritance lawsuits, including those regarding inheritance rights, can lead to an appeal. If you disagree with a final judgment or order, you may be able to file an appeal. On the other hand, if you win a case, the other side may appeal. Therefore, it’s important to anticipate the possibility of having to hire an experienced Miami appellate attorney.

How Do You Begin to Hire Serious Inheritance Lawyers?

If you are in the process of hiring a Miami appellate firm, you may want to look for a law firm with extensive experience in handling civil appeals. Does the Florida appellate attorney you are interviewing have over twenty years of experience? How many appellate briefs have they written?

At Pankauski Lazarus, one of the law partners, Robert Hauser, has been named a Board Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice. The appellate team at Pankauski Lazarus handles appeals in each and every district court of appeal in Florida. 

Florida Appeal Regarding Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights

Inheritance attorneys know that valuable surviving spouse rights usually come with strict deadlines that must be complied with. Florida Statute Florida Statute 732.401 (2) says that, if a surviving spouse chooses to make the election to take an undivided one-half interest in the homestead, rather than a life estate, he or she must file that election within six months of the decedent’s death. Although there is an exception if a certain petition is filed by an attorney in fact or guardian of the property of the surviving spouse, that certain petition itself must also be filed within those six months. What happens if you decide you want the one-half interest in the Florida homestead, rather than the life estate, but you fail to file within the six months? You may want to read a March 19,2019 Second DCA opinion, Samad v. Pla.

Samad v. Pla

This opinion is a great example of a Florida appeal involving a surviving spouse’s homestead rights.

Here, the surviving spouse in a Florida probate proceeding 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.

If you are looking to interview a Miami or West Palm Beach appellate attorney, call (561) 268-0233 ext.101 for a free consultation.