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Who qualifies as an interested party during the probate process?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2023 | Probate litigation

The probate process experiences a number of delays, one of which is the ability for someone to file a suit against an estate. Should this happen, it significantly impacts how quickly the distribution process of the estate works.

While it may seem like there are a number of things to get in the way of probate, there are limitations on who could file a lawsuit concerning the estate.

Defining interested parties

For a party to file a lawsuit, they must qualify as an interested party. These individuals must demonstrate there is an economic interest in the probate proceedings and the impact of the outcome. Creditors have a position as interested parties since they depend on the estate funds for payments.

Family members can also include interested parties, as well as anyone named in the will. If there are parties who were previously named in a version of the will, these would also qualify as interested parties.

Hearings on interested parties

The court may determine who qualifies as an interested party, though this typically occurs before the probate proceedings begin. When a judge makes a decision and determines that an individual is not an interested party, these individuals are not able to make future claims or appearances before the court.

In many cases, those who believe they have a claim to an estate may press the issue. It could result in hostile litigation. Having the court step in and decide who meets the criteria as an interested party can help keep litigation concerns to a minimum.

Interested parties are able to make claims on an estate through the court, though it is possible to challenge their standing as an interested party.