By Coleman P. Hengesbach, Esq.

It has been a few weeks since your father’s passing, or any relative or loved one, and you receive a letter in the mail that includes a document titled, “Waiver of Notice”. Your mind is already clouded with grief due to your father’s passing but now you are overwhelmed with paper work from an attorney’s office.

While dealing with the emotional stress of losing a loved one is difficult, you should be careful with how you respond to this document.

What is a Waiver of Notice?

In Florida, when someone dies, the estate will initiate a process called probate. Probate is a formal legal process where one’s estate is legally verified and administered after someone dies. A personal representative of the estates begins this process by filing a petition of administration with a probate Court.

At the outset of the Probate process, loves ones and other beneficiaries will receive paper work from the personal representative. Among that paperwork is a document called a “Waiver of Notice”. Do NOT overlook this document as it can become a big mistake if you sign it without understanding the consequences of doing so.

A waiver of notice is essentially asking you to waive your rights to challenging the administration of your loved one’s will, implicitly affirming the validity of it. In some cases, people trust that whatever dad’s will said was what he truly intended. In other cases, people do not consult with a lawyer or they do not understand that dad’s will was legally void. Instead, these same people execute a waiver of notice, having to live with regrets when they later find out dad gave their inheritance away to a stranger that unduly influenced him in the final stages of his life. Unfortunately, because they signed the waiver of notice, they put themselves in a very difficult legal position if they want to challenge the will.

When you sign a waiver of notice, you should ask yourself: Am I willing to waive my right to challenging dad’s will? Am I willing to waive my right to challenge the qualifications of the personal representative appointed to administering dad’s will? Am I willing to waive my right to challenge where the probate proceedings will take place?

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things in life. The burden of handling their estate post-death makes it even harder. If you received a waiver of notice in the mail, consult with an experienced probate litigation attorney, especially if you intend to contest the validity of the will. At Hengesbach & Hengesbach, we have a team of seasoned trial attorneys that focus their practice on wills and trusts contests. For more information, feel free to visit our website at or email me directly at