A caveat is a notice that an interested person, usually a creditor, files with the court under a person’s social security number, that requires the court to notify the filer (called a caveator) if any other probate matter is filed under the same social security number.
Timing. A creditor can file a caveat only after the person has passed away. However, any other person may file a caveat at any time. For example, imagine a person’s child from a first marriage only has sporadic contact with his or her parent. Imagine also that this person is in a second marriage. The child may be concerned that his or her parent will pass away, the new spouse will open probate and make false representations to the court, and the estate will be probated and distributed before the child has a chance to intervene.
Effect. If a creditor files a caveat, the clerk simply informs the creditor when letters of administration are issued and the contact information of the personal representative. However, if anyone other than a creditor files a caveat, the court cannot admit the will to probate or appoint a personal representative until the caveator has been notified.
Out-of-State Caveators. If an out-of-state party wants to file a caveat, he or she cannot do so unless he or she is represented by a Florida attorney or he or she designates a Florida agent to serve as his or her agent.
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