Rule 5.025. Adversary Proceedings

(a)     Specific Adversary Proceedings. The following are adversary proceedings unless otherwise ordered by the court: proceedings to remove a personal representative, surcharge a personal representative, remove a guardian, surcharge a guardian, probate a lost or destroyed will or later-discovered will, determine beneficiaries, construe a will, reform a will, modify a will, cancel a devise, partition property for the purposes of distribution, determine pretermitted status, determine pretermitted share, determine amount of elective share and contribution, and for revocation of probate of a will.

(b)     Declared Adversary Proceedings. Other proceedings may be declared adversary by service on interested persons of a separate declaration that the proceeding is adversary.

(1)     If served by the petitioner, the declaration must be served with the petition to which it relates.

(2)     If served by the respondent, the declaration and a written response to the petition must be served at the earlier of:

(A)     within 20 days after service of the petition, or

(B)     prior to the hearing date on the petition.

(3)     When the declaration is served by a respondent, the petitioner must promptly serve formal notice on all other interested persons.

(c)     Adversary Status by Order. The court may determine any proceeding to be an adversary proceeding at any time.

(d)     Notice and Procedure in Adversary Proceedings.

(1)     Petitioner must serve formal notice.

(2)     After service of formal notice, the proceedings, as nearly as practicable, must be conducted similar to suits of a civil nature, including entry of defaults. The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure govern, except for rule 1.525.

(3)     The court on its motion or on motion of any interested person may enter orders to avoid undue delay in the main administration.

(4)     If a proceeding is already commenced when an order is entered determining the proceeding to be adversary, it must thereafter be conducted as an adversary proceeding. The order must require interested persons to serve written defenses, if any, within 20 days from the date of the order. It is not necessary to re-serve the petition except as ordered by the court.

(5)     When the proceedings are adversary, the caption of subsequent pleadings, as an extension of the probate caption, must include the name of the first petitioner and the name of the first respondent.

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