Many things can slow a case when a Florida will goes to probate. One thing is a challenge to the will. However, the universe of people who can file a challenge to a will is not unlimited. Before this happens, the court will need to decide that someone is an interested party.
Who qualifies as an interested party
In order to be an interested party, one must have a property right or claim against the estate. This certainly includes heirs and creditors. It may even include close family members who have been left out of the will. However, the more distant of a family relation, the less a chance that the court will allow someone to begin a will contest. Laws want people to have their say if it is needed while also seeking efficiency to keep cases moving through the judicial systems. If everyone could be an interested party, cases would be bogged down in court.
When one wants to participate in probate, they will need to make the case to the judge early in the process that they are an interested party. Anyone who objects will get a chance to challenge whether the other person is interested. The judge will decide this matter before they reach the merits of a case. If they decide that someone is not an interested party, it would end their ability to participate in the probate process.
When a will contest is necessary
Will contests can, often, be messy hearings with accusations and other family baggage that makes its way into court. They can lead to protracted lawsuits that take time and money to resolve. One needs a probate litigation attorney to represent their interests in the event of a will contest. The attorney may argue their client’s case in court if they are not able to reach a settlement with the other parties.