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3 Month Time Limit to Contest Florida Will? (maybe you have more time)

Probate Information • Mar 14, 2021
post about 3 Month Time Limit to Contest Florida Will? (maybe you have more time)

There is a time limit to contest a Florida will. This is sometimes referred to as the “3 month rule” by probate litigators. Knowing how long you have to contest the Florida will is crucial to evaluating your inheritance rights. We have provided Florida probate legal commentary previously. We even wrote about whether “prior” will beneficiaries have “legal standing” to contest a Florida will. (Beneficiaries under a prior will who are now cut out). Now, we will discuss your very short time frame to petition to revoke probate. If you did not object within 3 months, don’t despair. There may be chances to still file. Particularly if you did not receive a Notice of Administration.

Understanding Probate Law Before You Contest the Will

The Florida Probate Code is one of two things which a Florida estate beneficiary must understand. The other is the Florida Probate Rules. These rules and laws will guide you to understand how to protect your inheritance rights. For example, Florida Statute 732.501-732.526 lists just about everything you need to know about making a valid will in Florida. Florida Statute 733.109 talks about a petition to revoke probate. That’s the “official” court-filed document that objects to a will.

Time Limit to Contest Florida Will. In some instances, you may only have 3 months to object to a will or file a petition to revoke probate.

3 Months to Contest Florida Will

Florida Statute. 733.212 sets forth the time limit to contest a Florida will. You can read that Florida probate law by clicking on THIS LINK. That probate statute says that you must object to the validity of the will within 3 months. 3 months of what? Within 3 months of receiving or “being served with” a copy of the Notice of Administration. (Hint: read Florida Probate Rule 5.240). The notice of administration is the official court filed document which is served on “interested persons”. This tells them that a Florida probate has been opened. So, you have a 3 month window to object to the validity of the will. What if you did not receive a copy of the Notice of Administration? “Get moving” says probate litigator John Pankauski. Pankauski handles will contest trials like undue influence. We previously provided commentary about setting aside a will based on insane delusion. In probate court, you will have to make an argument on why the 3 month window does not apply to you. But, regardless, if you were not given notice of the probate, don’t delay. “You may still be able to exercise your rights and object” says Pankauski.

What If There Is No Probate?

What if there is no probate opened? “File a petition for administration on your own” advises Pankauski. (Hint: read Florida Probate Rule 5.600) He advises to go open up the Florida estate and exercise your rights. Pankauski does not suggest waiting. “The law does not help those who sit on their rights. The law helps those who exercise their rights.” Pankauski knows a thing or two about exercising clients rights. He and his team of expert Florida probate litigators had a week-long undue influence trial in Palm Beach County in November.