If a probate case has been filed and you want to contest it and/or you have additional information to provide the Court you will often file a COMPETING PETITION. For example what if the first petition shows there to be no will but you know you have a valid and original will!? That’s a great opportunity to file a competing petition. Here are a few nuances to keep in mind:
1) In most counties you use the same case number as the first petition.
2) You want to prepare your objection to the first petition first and foremost so that first petition does not get approved.
3) You want to prepare your own petition for probate and label it “COMPETING” just above the box that indicates the type of petition.
4) Your competing petition is a brand new petition so you need to publish, send out notice, and file all documents just like a brand new probate… and pay your own filing fee too!
5) Typically the first petition will be continued to the competing petition’s Court date… but, of course, you need to verify this happens.
6) In most counties, if not settled,the matter is sent to mediation to resolve. Since that takes some time it may be advantageous to get a special administrator appointed on an ex parte basis to handle the estate in the interim. This will often be a professional fiduciary.
7) If the matter is not resolved at mediation then a trial will be held to determine which petition should be granted. This is the true competing petition stage.
8) Then move forward with a regular probate….
Good luck. -John