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Who ranks as an interested person or beneficiary in Florida probate?

Perhaps a close relative of yours recently passed away, and his estate must now go through the probate process.

You are a beneficiary in the will. You have heard the term “interested person” in connection with probate, but what does this mean?  Are you an interested person?

More rights than others

Florida residents frequently hear the term “interested person,” which, in general, refers to anyone affected by the outcome of a particular proceeding. For example, the trustee of a trust is an interested person and so is the executor or personal representative of an estate. In terms of the probate proceeding, interested persons have rights that are greater than others.

You have standing

Interested persons alone have standing—the legal right to be involved—in the Florida probate process. As a beneficiary, you have standing with respect to the estate of your deceased relative. You have the right to request confidential information about the assets and the accounting pertaining to the settling of the estate. The general public is not privy to this kind of information.

You also have the right to voice an objection to the validity of the will, dispute the appointment of the personal representative or even question the jurisdiction of the court where the probate proceeding is taking place.

The meaning may vary

According to Florida statute 731.201, the term “interested person” may apply to different individuals in different situations. In other words, each proceeding is unique, and the circumstances must determine the identity of interested persons. If, for example, an estate is insolvent, the outcome of the probate proceeding may affect a creditor who would qualify as an interested person.

Asking questions

As a beneficiary and someone with standing, you probably have many questions, such as how long the probate process will take. Like other interested persons, you can direct your questions to the personal representative who no doubt will rely on legal assistance to administer the estate of your relative properly and in a timely fashion.

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