Probate, trust, guardianship and inheritance litigation
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Florida Probate Rules Amendments – January 2020

By:  Jeffrey Skatoff, Esq.

Effective January 1, 2020, several Florida Probate Rules were amended.  The complete Florida Probate Rules Amendments can be found here.

Five key amendments are set forth below.

Amendment to Florida Probate Rule 5.020 – Pleadings; Verification; Motions

Florida Probate Rule 5.020 was amended to change the deadline for service of a motion for rehearing from 10 days to 15 days after the date of filing of the order or judgment.  This gives litigants more time to consider if they can and should file a motion for rehearing.

Amendment to Florida Probate Rule 5.040 – Notice

Florida Probate Rule 5.040 was amended in three places.

First, Rule 5.040 got a new subdivision (a)(3)(D).   The new subdivision provides for service by first-class mail when only in rem or quasi in rem relief is sought under certain circumstances.

Second, subdivision (a)(4)(F) of Rule 5.040 was amended by deleting the phrase “at its registered office in Florida or its principal business office in Florida or, if neither is known after reasonable inquiry, at its last known address,” and inserting “as provided in chapter 48, Florida statutes.”  Chapter 48, Florida Statutes, addresses process and service of process in civil cases.

Third, subdivision (a)(5) was amended to include completion of service under subdivisions (a)(3)(B) and (C). 

Amendment to Florida Probate Rule 5.200 – Petition for Administration

Florida Probate Rule 5.200 was amended in two significant ways.

First, the rule now requires the person seeking appointment as the personal representative to indicate whether any other person has equal or higher preference under section 733.301, Florida Statutes.  If so, the person seeking appointment must also indicate the name of the person who has higher preference and whether the person will be served with formal notice.

In addition, the rule was amended to add a new subdivision (k).  Subdivision (k) requires a statement tha the personal representative is qualified to serve under the laws of Florida as a business entity under section 733.305, Fla. Stat., or as an individual under sections 733.303 and 733.304, Fla. Stat.

Amendment to Florida Probate Rule 5.275 – Burden of Proof in Will Contests

Florida Probate Rule 5.275 was amended to correspond to legislative changes in section 733.107, Fla. Stat.  Section 733.107 is the corresponding statute that addresses the burden of proof in contests.  The amended Rule 5.275 has a new subdivision (b), which states that where the presumption of undue influence applies, the presumption shifts the burden of proof under sections 90.301-90.304, Florida Statutes.

Amendment to Florida Probate Rule 5.636 – Settlement of Minors’ Claims

Florida Probate Rule 5.636 was amended to add the phrase “equals or” before the phrase “exceeds $50,000” in subdivisions (d) and (e) and the phrase “equal or” before the phrase “exceed $50,000” in subdivision (e).

Jeffrey Skatoff is a Florida probate attorney.  To have Mr. Skatoff review your case free of charge, please go to his website.

Probate attorney Jeffrey Skatoff handles probate, trust, guardianship and inheritance litigation.

Jeffrey H. Skatoff, Esq.

Probate, Trust & Guardianship Litigation

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