What is an Interested Person in Florida Probate?
To raise an objection, to object to a will, or file something in a Florida probate, you must be an interested person. And while we have discussed this “weird”, obscure, estate concept previously (click HERE to read more for free), we are going to explain this in 5 easy steps or lessons.
Heirs vs. Interested Persons
What’s the difference between an “heir” and an “interested person?”
To read about Florida heirship for free, click this LEGAL LINK.
Heirs inherit the property of a Florida resident who dies without a will. That’s called intestacy. Or “intestate succession.” (For a free Florida video, click here. ) You can also read the legal definition at Fla. Probate Code Section 731. 201 (20).
That’s DIFFERENT than an interested person.
Yup……………….. the answer to your question that you are thinking about is “yes.” (An heir might not be an interested person).
Why Does It Matter ?
Well, first of all, you might want to participate in the probate.
And, if you are an “heir”, and there is no will, you inherit! (probably !!)
There is a special statute on what family members inherit. Actually there are two. See 732.102 and 732.103.
Heirs who are a surviving spouse have one statute.
Other heirs have another.
Think of heirs as the surviving spouse + descendants or “blood” relatives.
When you die without a will, that’s called “intestacy.”
Think it’s not possible? Think again says Palm Beach probate lawyer John Pankauski.
“I can’t tell you how many estates we have been hired for where there is no will” says Pankauski, who has recovered millions of dollars in inheritances for his clients. “It’s common to believe there was a will. And….. they can’t find the original. Or…. their simply is no will. ”
Are You an Interested Person in Florida
Want to see what our courts and judges say about an “interested person”?
How about our legislature?
OK…………here you go!….. “Everything” you need to know about what is an interested person in Florida.
- A recent, October 6, 2022 case discusses this obscure legal topic. Remember: the Florida Probate Rules are for estates and guardianships. You can read this opinion for free HERE. That’s the Abrams v. Waserstein matter from Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal.
- But, for THE case on this topic, read The Florida Supreme Court‘s opinion in Hayes v. Guardianship of Thompson.
- Read Florida Probate Code law 732.201 (23). This gives you the statutory definition. This definition is the beginning for any judicial analysis.
- Remember: you can be an heir and not be an interested person.
- Finally, if you are not an interested person in the estate, you can’t participate. That means you don’t have standing. You can’t file papers, see the inventory, get an accounting, etc. And this makes sense. After all, not just anyone can start asking for stuff in some Florida estate proceeding. You need a connection to the dead person or the estate or the property of the dead person. Are you a creditor? A beneficiary? Were you cut out? A named personal representative or executor?