Probate Appeals: What You Need To Know

Probate Law

Appealing a probate law case should be approached very much like dealing with a will’s validity. 

You normally only want to question things while you either have knowledge that something wasn’t carried out properly or once you have new evidence that would modify the previous decision. Seeking out corruption isn’t always as important as trying to prove that there was neglect involved in your dispute.

Although time may not be on your side, as an experienced probate attorney from Flanders Law Firm LLC explains. 

Giving yourself two weeks to get things in order is generous to say the least, and hazardous to your ability to file an appeal at worst. You may need to find a specific court to take the case, and it probably won’t be initially brought to the Supreme Court. As always of course, there’s a bit more to all this process.

Getting a Higher Court Involved 

Perhaps the central part of any given probate appeal is involving a higher court to look at the previous case. Appealing the case truthfully means that you are escalating things to a higher level than before. 

This appeal isn’t a promise that the previous court decision will be overturned, but it’s a chance at correcting the outcome. You might be able to, in a metaphorical sense, change the route from East to West. Once you appeal the case, you’re taking one more chance at losing and another chance at winning.

What an appeal will involve, as hinted at before, is reviewing the previous decision. If the higher court agrees with the previous decision and doesn’t find any serious problems with it, nothing will likely change. 

Don’t think that they will take any major actions unless they find something off or if any new evidence comes into their perspective. You may have evidence of both, but you need to convince them to act on anything. 

They may only want to change things if glaring mistakes were made and those mistakes can be demonstrated. Nevertheless, if everything was done correctly and assuming there is nothing new to account for, the court likely won’t hesitate to deny making changes and get on with more pressing things. Plainly stated, they are probably going to only fix something if it’s broken.

Appellate Court: Know Where to Go

To appeal a case, you’ll probably need to locate the local superior court. You’ve got to find a way to work up the hierarchy ladder to find someone who has the power to rebuke the previous decision. If the lower court didn’t do what they should have, you have to go to the people who can correct that. Thankfully, where you need to go will probably be listed online. Once you’ve submitted the appeal to that court, it may eventually be reviewed by a judge who manages probate cases and various other sorts of civil matters. You shouldn’t fret over searching for a judge who only handles probate situations.

It’s likely that you’ll have the right to appeal any given case, assuming that you are deemed to be an interested party that stands to be impacted by the estate. You may encounter feedback and statements to deter you, but those might be said mainly to prevent time loss. Listen to those with discretion. 

Should an appeal not have any new evidence provided, you probably have to go on the hope that someone did something really incorrectly. And it’s completely possible that you weren’t supposed to or weren’t able to get any assets. Not every estate has the fluid cash funds to outrun oncoming debts, causing hard assets to be melted down into liquid currency.

Less Than a Month 

You may only have twenty-one days to appeal a case. To put things from a different perspective, if your kid grew by one year each day, they would be able to drink alcohol by the end of that twenty-one day period. 

That really means you may have less than a month, three weeks really, to appeal the case. What you need to do by that twenty-first day is file a claim of appeal. Keep in mind that this time isn’t an allowance for you to be lazy. 

You need to treat things as if the court needed you to file things yesterday.

The timer probably started ticking once the judge signed off on the probate decision or when the decision was entered in by the probate court. 

If you can confirm that neither has happened yet, the clock might not have even started counting down. 

Consider verifying how much time you have if you’re willing to take that risk. You may want to err on the side of trying to file an appeal even if it’s too late. At the end of the day, that choice has to be made by you.

Continuing an Appeal Multiple Times

If you are a first time personal representative, make sure you know the law.  Not every case will reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Almost every case could, hypothetically speaking, go to such a level, but there’s little to no guarantee of that. That noted, if the appeal that was filed doesn’t go in your favor, you might be able to appeal it again at a higher level court. 

It wouldn’t be wise to continue appealing it unless you know of things that must be or have good reason to be changed. Else, you’ll probably find yourself getting the same answer over and over again.

Appealing several times will probably mean a lot of time and energy. When a decision that you don’t like comes back to you, you’ll be put back on another twenty-one day timer to appeal the decision. If you appeal a case only two times and wait for only sixteen of the twenty-one days to file, you’ll have used just over one month of your life’s time just to start things. That’s not factoring in the time you need to do to discuss things, the driving time, or the time required to make a second or third decision. 

Proceed with caution!

Probate Appeals Lawyers

One perk of probate is that it’s a legal process which lets you involve an attorney well before an appeal is even an option. 

Things might be corrected well before you have the first decision within your grasp. Some say that preventive medicine is the best kind of medicine – an attorney can offer the legal equivalent to that for the probate-related case you’re handling. 

Perhaps you have concerns relating to filling out a probate inventory, handling forums, and making decisions relating to debt and beneficiaries. Those are just a few of the worries they can help to quell. If this applies to you, now might be the time to inquire of them and see what’s to be done, contact a probate lawyer today.