Appeal proceedings in probate and guardianship cases are governed by Rule 9.170 of the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. The Rules in general recognize that during probate and guardianship proceedings, a court may enter several final orders in the course of the proceedings addressing a variety of different issues and affecting a multitude of different persons connected with the case. Rule 9.170 limits appeals in this area to appeals of orders that finally determine a right or obligation of an interested person as defined in the Florida Probate Code. A threshold question in the appeal of a probate or guardianship order, therefore, is whether the order is one that “finally determines a right or obligation” under the Florida Probate Code.

Florida Rule 9.170 lists 24 different types of orders which may be appealed under the rules. These orders include, but are not limited to, those 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’ claim;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; orapprove 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 above list is not exhaustive, so a careful review must be conducted to determine whether the order in your case fits into one of the above situations or otherwise finally determines a right or obligation under the Florida Probate Code. Also, appeal proceedings may include original proceedings and appeals of non-final orders where applicable under other provisions of the Florida Rules.

Appellate Attorneys for Probate & Guardianship Proceedings in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties, South Florida and all of Florida

It is important to appeal the order by the 30-day deadline and before the probate administration or guardianship is complete and the fiduciary is discharged. If you are in the midst of a probate or guardianship proceeding and have an issue with a particular ruling or order which has been entered, contact Bresky Law in Boca Raton for immediate assistance.