In re Estate of Coukos, 947 So.2d 1290, 32 Fla. L. Weekly D433 (Fla. 2d DCA Feb 09, 2007)
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. In the linked-to case, counsel for the personal representative deftly defended against a lawsuit by disinherited heirs by attacking their standing to bring the suit, vs. allowing his client to get dragged into a full-blown will contest.
Based on the following rationale, the 2d DCA held that the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the testator lacked standing to petition to revoke his will, in which they were not beneficiaries, given that previous and presumptively valid wills were discovered that, similar to the current will, did not include the petitioners as beneficiaries of the estate. This is a one paragraph opinion, and although unstated, the key concept here is Florida’s “dependent relative revocation.”
Appellants, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Harry L. Coukos, challenge the trial court’s dismissal with prejudice of their petition for revocation of probate, in which they challenged Mr. Coukos’ 2004 will. Because Appellants lacked standing to challenge the will, we affirm. See Wehrheim v. Golden Pond Assisted Living Facility, 905 So.2d 1002, 1006 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005) (“[A] petitioner may not be an interested person in revocation and removal proceedings if previous and presumptively valid wills have been discovered that, similar to the current will, do not include the petitioner as a beneficiary of the estate.”). However, we do so without prejudice to any right Appellants may have to challenge the trust agreement.