Those who are involved in a will contest in a Florida court may want to know exactly who is allowed to participate. State law draws a line in saying that not everyone has the ability to be a part of the process. Specifically, one must be an interested party in order to play a role in the court hearing.
The concept of an interested party is not an unlimited one. One must have an actual economic interest that is at issue in the hearing in probate court. This could be a close family member who is named or not named in the will or a creditor who is owed money by the decedent. However, more distant family members may not have the right to participate in the process. For example, children and spouses are almost always interested parties, but cousins generally are not.
The court will decide at the outset exactly who has the ability to participate as an interested party. Challenges to one’s status as an interested party are usually brought at the outset of the process. The court may have a hearing to decide whether the challenged person can participate. They will need to demonstrate that they have the requisite economic interest. If not, the court will not hear their position because they will be excluded from future proceedings.
Those who have questions about whether they can participate in will contests may consult with a probate litigation attorney. Probate can be a time-consuming and arcane process that is difficult for many people to navigate. The assistance of an attorney may be vital because it could save time and help a person avoid the pitfalls that cause the probate process to drag on for even longer. The attorney may be able to argue for their client to be heard in court.