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Probate rules.

The Florida Probate Rules Committee had a productive year. Following approval by the Board of Governors, the committee submitted an out-of-cycle, fast-track report proposing amendments to the probate rules. See In re Amendments to Florida Probate Rules, Case No. SC15-1513 (Aug. 20, 2015). The fast-track report proposed changes to both guardianship and probate rules based on the enactment of recent legislation. The Florida Supreme Court adopted the proposed amendments on December 17, 2015, including an alternative proposal to Rule 5.695 (annual guardianship reports). The fast-track amendments also included revisions to the contents of a notice of administration, the procedure related to the disqualification of a personal representative, and the notice requirements related to a petition for the appointment of an emergency temporary guardian.

On January 28, the committee filed its three-year cycle report, which proposed additional revisions to the Florida Probate Rules. The Board of Governors reviewed and approved the report, and it was submitted to the Florida Supreme Court. As the report reveals, the committee proposed substantive and editorial revisions to a host of probate and guardianship rules. For a full recitation of all the amendments proposed, see In re Amendments to Florida Probate Rules, Case No. SC16-168.

Beyond the fast-track amendments and the proposed three-year cycle amendments, the committee is currently considering whether changes to Rule 5.030 (attorneys) are appropriate in light of anticipated changes to the Rules of Judicial Administration with respect to representation by attorneys (Rule 2.505). If the proposed changes to the Rules of Judicial Administration are adopted, the committee should be positioned to determine the extent to which changes to Rule 5.030 are necessary. Further, the committee is examining whether the probate rules should be revised in order to require a prospective personal representative to make a representation when seeking appointment as to whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a felony. The committee is also studying whether to recommend adoption of a rule that would allow for service of formal notice via first class mail in certain limited circumstances.

As new legislation is passed, the Florida Probate Rules Committee will continue to review and analyze such legislation to determine whether corresponding or related amendments to the probate rules are necessary and, if so, whether such amendments should be proposed on a fast-track basis or as part of the committee's next three-year cycle report.

Meeting schedules and agenda for the committee are posted on the Florida Probate Rules Committee website, cm230.nsf/WDOCS. The Florida Bar's liaison to the Probate Rules Committee, Heather Telfer, works to keep this information easily available to the committee members and others who have an interest in the committee's activities.

I urge practitioners to monitor The Florida Bar News for the publication of proposed rule changes, as well as the Florida Supreme Court's webpage, which lists the pending rules cases. The Probate Rules Committee welcomes comments to the published proposals, comments on pending projects, and suggestions for rule changes based on procedural problems encountered by courts and practitioners.

It has been a privilege and honor for me to serve as chair of the Florida Probate Rules Committee this year. Thank you to all committee members, The Florida Bar staff, and the members of the other rules committees for your contributions during the year.

Matt Triggs, Chair
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Title Annotation:Annual Reports of Committees of The Florida Bar
Author:Triggs, Matt
Publication:Florida Bar Journal
Date:Jun 1, 2016
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