Florida wills need to go through the probate process before the executor can settle the estate. However, there is often a question of who is able to participate in these proceedings. This arises most often when someone is either left out of the will or feels that they have not received their rightful share of the estate.
Interested parties are those who can be reasonable expected to be affected by the outcome of probate. This means that they have a financial interest in the will and estate. Creditors are interest parties because they need to be paid back from the assets of the estate. Those who stand to inherit are also able to participate in probate. Even close family members who have been left out of the will are interested parties.
However, courts will draw a line in the interests of efficiency and fairness. If an unlimited number of people can participate in probate, it will greatly slow the settling of the estate. Accordingly, the courts will not allow someone without a financial stake in the proceedings to be a part of them. The court will decide the matter early in the process to keep out people who are not interested parties. This is the same thing as saying that someone does not have standing to participate.
When a person is involved in probate litigation, they are participating in a process that has been described as contentious. After a death in the family, people are already in the middle of a stressful time without having to deal with legal fights over the will. An estate planning attorney may handle the legal representation as their client either seeks to be heard or tries to keep out people without standing. The attorney may also help their client try to resolve the dispute by negotiating a settlement agreement.