What orders, rulings and judgments can be appealed in Florida probate actions and Florida guardianship actions has been a difficult conundrum for many years in Florida, given the ongoing and continuing nature of this proceedings.
In an effort to clarify what can be appealed, Florida added Appellate Rule 9.170(b).
Florida appellate rule 9.170(b), which became effective on January 1, 2012, provides that orders that finally determine a right or obligation of an interested party can be appealed. The Rule enumerates what probate and guardianship orders finally determine a right or obligation of an interested party. These orders include, but are not limited to, orders that:
- determine a petition or motion to revoke letters of administration or letters of guardianship;
- determine a petition or motion to revoke probate of a will;
- determine a petition for probate of a lost or destroyed will;
- grant or deny a petition for administration pursuant to section 733.2123, Florida Statutes;
- grant heirship, succession, entitlement, or determine the persons to whom distribution should be made;
- remove or refuse to remove a fiduciary;
- refuse to appoint a personal representative or guardian;
- determine a petition or motion to determine incapacity or to remove rights of an alleged incapacitated person or ward;
- determine a motion or petition to restore capacity or rights of a ward;
- determine a petition to approve the settlement of minors’ claims;
- determine apportionment or contribution of estate taxes;
- determine an estate’s interest in any property;
- determine exempt property, family allowance, or the homestead status of real property;
- authorize or confirm a sale of real or personal property by a personal representative;
- make distributions to any beneficiary;
- determine amount and order contribution in satisfaction of elective share;
- determine a motion or petition for enlargement of time to file a claim against an estate;
- determine a motion or petition to strike an objection to a claim against an estate;
- determine a motion or petition to extend the time to file an objection to a claim against an estate;
- determine a motion or petition to enlarge the time to file an independent action on a claim filed against an estate;
- settle an account of a personal representative, guardian, or other fiduciary;
- discharge a fiduciary or the fiduciary’s surety;
- award attorneys’ fees or costs; or
- approve a settlement agreement on any of the matters listed above in (1)-(23) or authorizing a compromise pursuant to section 733.708, Florida Statutes.
The list in Rule 9.170(b) is not exhaustive, and therefore certain orders that can be appealed in Florida probate and guardianship cases might not be listed but could still qualify as appealable orders that finally determine a right or obligation of an interested person.