Probate proceedings are “in rem” proceedings.  What this basically means is that the probate court has jurisdiction over the property subject to the probate proceeding.  Further, the probate court has jurisdiction over YOUR property interest in the probate proceeding regardless of whether the probate court has personal jurisdiction over you.  In Florida, many probate proceedings require that the personal representative or other interested party serve you with certified mail, return receipt requested.  This is commonly referred to as “formal notice.”  If you have been served with formal notice, then generally you have twenty (20) days to respond to the formal notice.  If you fail to respond then under Florida Probate Rule 5.040(a)(2), “the pleading or motion may be considered ex parte as to that person, unless the court orders otherwise.”  This means that the court can sign an order adversely affecting your interest in probate property.  I have seen individuals lose hundreds of thousands of dollars by failing to take action.  Thus, if you do not understand what to do, contact Linde Law Group for more information.   
Matthew A. Linde
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