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Florida Supreme Court Decides What Constitutes a Timely Objection to a Personal Representative

Posted: September 4, 2011 Filed under: Case Law

When must an objection to the qualification of an estate’s personal representative be filed? According to Hill v. Davis, No. SC10-823 (Fla. Sept. 1, 2011), an objection to the qualifications of a personal representative of an estate is barred if not filed within the three-month window authorized by section 733.212(3), Florida Statutes. An exception exists, the court said, where fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct with regard to the qualifications is not apparent on the face of the petition or discovered within the statutory time frame. In Hill, the Supreme Court of Florida deemed the objection filed outside the three-month period untimely because fraud, misrepresentation, and misconduct were not alleged, and the factual basis for the objection was known to the challenger and could have been timely raised.

The court applied a most basic rule of statutory construction to reach its decision: when the meaning of the statute is clear, the “Court‟s task goes no further than applying the plain language of the statute.”

Admitted: Florida, Kansas, New Mexico (inactive)