If you’re a beneficiary of a Florida estate or trust and believe your rights have been violated, then you should contact a Beneficiary Rights attorney as soon as possible.
Doing so can protect your rights to inheritance and ensure the appropriate action is taken against the person at fault.
What to Do if Your Beneficiary Rights have Been Violated?
If the personal representative of a probate administration has violated your beneficiary’s rights, then there are various steps that you can take to protect the estate.
It is highly advised that you seek legal counsel by contacting a Beneficiary Rights attorney as soon as possible. With years of experience and expertise, they’ll direct you to the most suitable action for your family and circumstances.
Often it is suitable to petition the probate court to ensure the personal representative is administering the estate correctly. For example, if the administration of the estate is taking too long, then the probate court could order the personal representative to speed up the process or set a deadline for completion.
In more serious situations, the probate court could be asked to remove the personal representative with the support of a Beneficiary Rights attorney. This can happen if the personal representative violates court orders or fails to meet their duties.
Understanding Your Beneficiary Rights
What is a Beneficiary?
A ‘beneficiary’ is a person who is legally eligible to receive distributions and benefits from a trust or will.
- For example, in a will, a beneficiary has the right to receive their share of the distribution of the estate.
- In a trust, a beneficiary is a person who has been selected to benefit from the disbursements of trust assets or income.
- In a Florida life insurance policy, a beneficiary is a person with the rights to receive the policy’s payout.
Your Rights as a Beneficiary
Your rights as a beneficiary go beyond just receiving the payments and assets you’re entitled to. In Florida, the law requires various protections and duties are provided to beneficiaries.
Without these, you could miss out on crucial information, changes and see personal representatives or Trustees get away with mismanagement.
Simply put, you’re entitled to know where the money is, where it’s going, who is handling it and what decisions are being made.
As a beneficiary, you have the right to be advised and legally supported by a Beneficiary Rights attorney at all times.
Beneficiary Rights in Florida Probate Administration
Duties of a Personal Representative in Probate
Florida’s probate code describes the requirements for the administration of an estate. The personal representative of an estate is a fiduciary who must uphold standards of care to the trustees.
- It is their duty to settle and distribute the estate as instructed in the Will.
- They must use their authority for the best interest of the beneficiaries.
Notice and Due Process Rights
- Beneficiaries have the right to receive adequate notice regarding the initiation of the estate administration and the appointment of a personal representative.
- Each recipient has up to 90 days to make challenges to the validity of the will and the appointment of the personal representative.
- If any beneficiary wants to challenge the appointment of the named personal representative, they have the right to file a caveat.
- The filing of the caveat requires advanced notice before the appointment of the personal representative and before the will is admitted to probate.
- Each beneficiary has the right to receive the estate’s accounting, which must contain the inventory of the assets of the probate estate and be correct.
- Beneficiaries are allowed to know the value of each asset when obtained.
- The personal representative must administer the probate estate fairly, as quickly as possible and by upholding the rights of both beneficiaries and creditors.
Additional Beneficiary Rights in Florida
In Florida, beneficiaries have the right to:
- Petition for determination of beneficiaries (Florida Statute 733.105)
- Petition for determination of beneficial interest in the estate (Florida Statute 733.105)
- Petition for revocation of probate of an admitted will (Florida Statute 733.109)
- To oppose or revoke probate of a will admitted to probate outside of Florida (Florida Statute 733.206)
- To participate in the bond determination of a fiduciary (Florida Statute 733.402)
- To receive notice of the resignation or disqualification of personal representative (Florida Statute 733.502)
- To petition for removal of a personal representative (Florida Statute 733.506)
- To have the best interests of the estate kept during a personal representative’s actions (Florida Statute 733.602)
- To contest a transaction effected by a personal representative’s conflict of interest (Florida Statute 733.610)
- To petition for a change in personal representative’s compensation or their lawyer’s (Florida Statute 733.6171)
- To object to a creditor claim (Florida Statute 733.705)
- To object to personal representative’s proof of claim (Florida Statute 733.705)
- To enter into a contract with interested persons to alter interests, shares, or amounts entitled to under will (Florida Statute 733.815)
- To receive a petition for apportionment of estate taxes (Florida Statute 733.817)
- To Formal Notice in adversary proceedings (Florida Probate Rules 5.025; 5.040)
- To declare proceedings adversarial and invoke Rules of Civil Procedure
- To request accounting that isn’t otherwise required by law
- To compel a personal representative to file accounting as required by law
- To receive formal notice of the petition for administration if the petitioner is not entitled to preference in appointment by law or terms of the will
- To the inventory of a safe deposit box.
- To accounting filed by a resigned or removed personal representative or a curator who has been succeeded by the current personal representative.
- To object an accounting.
- To petition the probate court for interim distribution.
- To object to discharge of a personal representative.
- To object to final accounting of personal representatives.
- To petition for determination of homestead status of real property.
- To petition for determination of exempt property.
- To petition for family allowance. (Florida Statute 732.403)
- To petition for establishment and probate of a lost or destroyed will.
- To challenge the validity of a marriage after death procured through fraud, duress or undue influence. (Florida Statute 732.805)
Please note the details listed here are for reference purposes only and should not inform your decision-making. If your beneficiary rights have been violated, contact a Beneficiary Rights attorney.
Rights of a Trust Beneficiary
In Florida Trusts, the beneficiaries’ rights are primarily based on the duties of the Trustee. Trustees must perform their fiduciary duties and act in the best interest of the beneficiaries at all times.
If these duties are breached, then a beneficiary has a right to file a petition against the Trustee, potentially for a Trustee removal.
Common examples include:
- Failure to comply with a Trust’s terms
- Breakdown of communications
- Mismanagement of a Trust’s asset
- Denied, delayed or incorrect accounting.
Contact a Florida Beneficiary Rights Attorney
If you or any other beneficiaries of an estate, Trust or Will believe your rights have been violated, then you should contact a Florida Beneficiary Rights attorney as soon as possible.
As you can see, there are various legal routes you can take which are far from easy to perform successfully. Gaining the legal expertise of a lawyer is highly advised.
Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. is U.S. News and World Reports Tier 1 law firm in Florida, specializing in Estate Planning & Probate since 1958. With award-winning experienced attorneys, they give you the best chance of getting the resolution you hope for.
Schedule a free consultation today to get started or to get any questions answered.