Objecting to the Final Accounting of a Florida Estate
Handling an estate, particularly a large one, is a complicated process. Somewhere along the way, the estate’s personal representative can make a mistake – or multiple. These mistakes could mean the final accounting submitted to the court may not be accurate, to the detriment of the decedent’s beneficiaries. If you realize there is a mistake, contact a Florida probate attorney to discuss how to object to an estate’s final accounting.
When You May Object
According to Florida Probate Rule 5.401, you have 30 days to file a formal written objection regarding the final accounting after you were served with the final accounting. Once you receive a copy of the final accounting, which should take place shortly after it is submitted to the court, then the clock begins to run.
What You May Object To
The 30 days does not give you very much time. You must quickly review the accounting and determine specific errors, which may require speaking with an attorney and financial professional. To file an objection, you must be able to point to particular items that are incorrect and provide a reason for why they are wrong. You cannot object to the final accounting in general.
Common objections to a final accounting include that the personal representative:
- Paid themselves with estate funds
- Took a loan from the estate
- Committed fraud
- Is guilty of wasting estate money or property
- Handled the estate in a way that would allow them to personally benefit
Another common objection is that the final accounting is overly confusing and not well structured. If the final accounting is so muddled as to make it overly difficult to discern what is principal property or funds, income, and debts paid, then you may have a valid objection.
Process of Objecting
Your probate attorney will file your written objection with the pertinent probate court, and the Florida Probate Rules require that your objections are served on the personal representative and any other interested persons within 30 days of when you received the final accounting. Next, your attorney will schedule the objection hearing, and will serve the Notice of Hearing on the personal representative and other interested parties.
Serving the right parties with the necessary notice is essential. If you fail to provide notice as prescribed in the rules, then the court will consider your objection abandoned and the personal representative will be allowed to move forward with distributions.
Are You Worried About How a Personal Representative is Handling a Loved One’s Estate?
If you are concerned about how your relative’s estate is being handled and you are a beneficiary of the estate, then you should obtain your own probate attorney. Once you receive the final accounting, your attorney can go through it with a fine-toothed comb, looking for discrepancies and signs of accidental or Intentional errors.
Let Larry E. Bray Help
You do not have to let your loved one’s estate be handled without any input. As a lawful heir or beneficiary within the will, you have the right to keep up with what is going on, and if there are signs of a problem, make a timely objection. However, this can be difficult to do without independent legal counsel. A Florida probate attorney at the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. are here to help you. Call us at 561-571-8970 to schedule an appointment.