I wrote recently about the definition of an “interested person” under Florida law and gave a few examples of who is and isn’t an interested person for purposes of Florida probate. Today I want to take a look at a few more examples of interested persons under Florida law.
- Florida Personal Representatives – It should be obvious that Florida personal representatives have an interest in Florida probate proceedings. But Florida law has a specific provision just in case. Florida Statutes § 732.201(23) provides: “In any proceeding affecting the estate or the rights of a beneficiary in the estate, the personal representative of the estate shall be deemed to be an interested person.” But there is case law stating that these rights come into existence only when the estate is actually opened with the court. The fact that a person is named as personal representative in an unprobated will may not be enough.
- Heirs and Devisees of the Estate – Heirs (those who inherit from the decedent through intestacy) and devisees (those who inherit through the decedent’s will) are also considered interested persons. Again, no surprises here. Heirs and devisees are clearly affected by the outcome of the probate proceeding.
- Trustees of Most Revocable Trusts – As mentioned previously, trustees of trusts that were established by the decedent and, at the time of the decedent’s death, revocable by the decedent (whether acting alone or in conjunction with someone else) are considered interested persons. This arrangement covers the traditional revocable trust/living trust estate planning arrangement.
- Assignees of Heirs – What about those who acquire an heir’s interest in the estate? Are they considered interested persons? The answer is a clear “yes.” “An assignee of an intestate heir of an estate steps into the shoes of the intestate heir and may appear as a party in interest in a probate proceeding.”
- Prior/Alternate Personal Representatives – Personal representatives under earlier wills may have standing to contest later wills.
- Creditors – Creditors may be interested persons if they are affected by the outcome of the probate proceeding. For example, one case involved a claimant’s claim against an estate had been stricken, and the order striking the claim was on appeal. The second district held that the claimant was an interested party. Another case held that a low-priority creditor was an interested person even though the estate had no assets with which to pay the claim.
I plan to wrap this up within the next couple of days with examples of individuals who are not interested persons under Florida law.
 Onofrio v. Johnston & Sasser, P.A., 782 So.2d 019 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001).
Morse v. Clark, 890 So.2d 496 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004).
 Wheeler v. Powers, 972 So.2d 285 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008); Engelberg v. Birnbaum, 580 So.2d 828 (Fla. 4th DCA 1991).
 Montgomery v. Cribb, 484 So. 2d 73 (Fla. 2d DCA 1986).
 Arzuman v. Estate of Bin, 879 So.2d 675 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004).