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3 common reasons people sue during probate

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2023 | Probate Litigation

The Florida probate courts oversee people’s estates. Probate court hearings are often a technical requirement during estate administration. The personal representative provides the courts with important paperwork. The courts help ensure they follow state law. They can also help interpret and enforce someone’s will. 

The courts can also help resolve disputes about estates. Family members, creditors and beneficiaries may file a lawsuit in probate court. Such lawsuits can delay estate administration. They can also affect family relationships. 

What are the most common reasons that people file lawsuits in Florida probate court?

1. Questions about the will’s validity

Adults in Florida have the right to decide what happens with their property when they die. Family members sometimes worry that wills are not valid. They may believe that someone lacked the mental capacity to create a will due to health issues. They may also believe that someone influenced the terms of the estate plan. Challenges to documents are a leading cause of probate litigation.

2. Problems with the estate’s personal representative

The person managing the estate could make mistakes. Family members or beneficiaries may then sue to remove them from their position. Those trying to preserve an estate sometimes sue to change who manages it. They may also try to prevent the sale of estate resources.

3. Unmet financial obligations

Creditors have rights during the probate process. If the estate does not pay someone’s debts, creditors could file a lawsuit. The personal representative of the estate is sometimes responsible for unpaid debts if they make mistakes. 

Probate litigation often increases the duration of probate proceedings. Lawsuits can also reduce the overall value of the estate. Knowing why people file probate lawsuits can help beneficiaries and others with an interest in an estate.