What Should I Do with a Notice of Probate?

What Should I Do with a Notice of Probate?

Receiving a court notice in the mail can be a little unnerving. Many people have had little to no experience with legal proceedings. For example, Danielle received a notice of probate by certified mail, return receipt requested. She was not sure what action she was supposed to take, if any. What she does now may be determined by several factors.

Probate Procedures

After a personal representative is appointed by the probate court, the estate administration begins. Soon after, the personal representative serves a notice of probate – also called a notice of administration – on people who have an interest in the estate, including:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse, if any;
  • Beneficiaries,
  • Trustees and qualified beneficiaries of any trusts; and
  • Anyone who is entitled to receive exempt property.

This notice serves multiple purposes:

  • Alerts the recipient that the estate administration has begun,
  • Places the person notified under the jurisdiction of the court.

The receipt of the notice of probate sets the process in motion for the recipient.

The Time to Act

Interested parties who receive a notice of probate have three months to make any or all of the following challenges:

  • Object to the validity of the Will;
  • Challenge the venue, or where the probate is taking place;
  • Claim that the court has no jurisdiction.

This deadline can only be extended if the personal representative misstated the time allowed for replying to the notice of probate.

Acting on the Notice of Probate

An interested person also faces other deadlines that start with the receipt of the notice of probate:

  • Claims for exempt property must be filed “on or before the later of the date that is 4 months after the date of service of a copy of the notice of administration on such persons or the date that is 40 days after the termination of any proceeding involving the construction, admission to probate, or validity of the will or involving any other matter affecting any part of the exempt property.”
  • The election to take an elective share of the estate, made by the surviving spouse, must be filed either 6 months after service of the notice of administration or the two-year anniversary of the decedent’s death, whichever is earlier.

Probate can be a complicated process, so consult with an attorney if you become involved in the probate of an estate.

Have You Received a Notice of Probate?

As a Florida attorney board certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates, Attorney John Mangan helps his clients with probate and estate planning concerns. To schedule an appointment, call us at 772-324-9050 or fill out our Contact Form. Our office is conveniently located in Palm City, Florida. We also help clients throughout Florida, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, and Port St. Lucie.