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10 Basic Legal Rights for Beneficiaries Under a Florida Will

If you are a beneficiary or interested person of a Florida Will, you have numerous legal rights protected by Florida law.  These laws are designed to keep you informed about the probate administration and make sure the decedent’s wishes as described in the Will are fulfilled.

The person in charge of making sure the property distributions in the Will are satisfied according to the instructions of the decedent is called a “Personal Representative” (referred to in other states as an “Executor”). The Personal Representative (or “PR”) has numerous fiduciary duties that run like a laser beam to the beneficiary.  Here are some of the most important:

  1. You have a right to secure a true copy of the Will.   The original will must be deposited with the court within 10 days of notice of death by whomever has custody of it.  F.S. 732.901

If you receive a Notice of Administration from the Personal Representative, it is strongly advisable to immediately request a copy of the Will from the PR.

Note:  If the decedent did not have a will, your rights are determined – and protected –  according to Florida intestate law.  See a Miami probate attorney to help determine your rights and visit our previous article Dying Without a Will in Florida: Who Gets What? for more information.

  1. You have a right to receive a Notice of Administration from the Personal Representative that will provide valuable information but will also establish a deadline as to when you can object to the Will. See #3 below.  F.S. 733.212
  1. If you believe the Will is not the true last will of the decedent, was executed when the decedent lacked capacity to understand what he or she was signing, or was secured as a result of undue influence, you have a right to contest the validity of the Will offered to probate.

Note:  If you receive a Notice of Administration, your deadline for challenging the Will is 90 days  after receiving said Notice.   F.S. 733.212(3)

  1. You have a right to see the inventory of the estate. The inventory must be filed within 60 days after the Personal Representative is appointed by the court and receives his or her Letters of Administration.  F.S. 733.604??
  1. You have the right to receive a detailed accounting filed by the Personal Representative pursuant to F.P.R. 5.345.   If the PR has not filed an accounting, you have a right to compel the PR to do so.  F.P. R. 5.150 Lastly, you can object to an inventory or accounting filed by the PR.
  1. You have the right to Petition for the removal of the Personal Representative. F.S. 733.506.
  1. You have the right to petition for an interim distribution. F.P.R. 5.380; F.S. 733.612(26)
  1. You have the right to receive an inventory of safe deposit box F.P.R. 5.342
  1. You have the right to petition for determination of homestead status of real property. F.P.R.  5.045.  Such a petition is often advisable to shield the decedent’s primary residence from claims of creditors.
  1. You have the right to petition for a decrease in the Personal Representative’s compensation. F.S. 733.617

This Report is only a summary of the key rights a beneficiary possesses under a Florida Will.  It is not a complete list of rights.   For more information, contact Phil Rarick, Miami probate attorney, at (305) 556-5209 or info@raricklaw.com.

Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced Miami probate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

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