When and How to Fight Probate Disputes
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When and How to Fight Probate Disputes

Hi, I’m Reed Bloodworth, the managing partner
of Bloodworth Law with offices in Orlando, Florida and Winter Haven, Florida. Bloodworth Law handles a lot of probate litigation
cases, and today I’d like to talk about when and how to fight probate disputes. Florida probate litigation – which is a
legal action pertaining to a will — is usually first considered by an individual when they
receive a Notice of Administration. When you receive a notice of administration,
don’t waste time. There’s a short window to dispute a will,
sometimes as few as 20 days. A Notice of Administration is a formal document
served by the Personal Representative that alerts all interested parties that the decedent’s
will is being probated before a Court. It includes the name of the decedent, the
estate’s case number, informs the interested person in which court the proceedings are
taking place, and provides the interested person with a deadline to contest the Will. If a beneficiary fails to contest a will within
the specified timeframe, their claims are forever barred. The recipient of a Notice of Administration
could have a unique situation, and a dispute that may have a variety of legal basis including:
• Duress • Lack of Mental Capacity
• Undue Influence • Intentional Interference with a testamentary
expectancy; or • Improper execution of the will No matter how simple or complex a claim, or
any promises made to a beneficiary that things will even out in the estate, or that someone
will take care of him or her, a Notice of Administration will be enforceable in court
and serve as a heard deadline to challenge a will. Once an individual is served with a Notice
of Administration, that person has 90 days to challenge the will or some portion of the
will. Following those 90 days, the window is closed. If you are the Personal Representative, you
can’t control family fights over an inheritance, or insulate yourself from potential arguments
and complaints from unhappy family members. What you can do is communicate early and often. Here are a few easy guidelines:
Tell everyone what’s going to happen: Let family members know that there are going to
be some decisions that require collaboration. They will have the opportunity to provide
input at that time. But there are also going to be decisions that
you as personal representative will have to make on your own, and you’ll keep them informed
of those, too. Before things get out of hand, or if they
already have, give me a call. Again, I’m Reed Bloodworth, managing partner
of Bloodworth Law. Let’s talk about how we can help you or
your family resolve your probate dispute.

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