You can appeal, but yes, you need a lawyer, and yes, the appeals period can be VERY limited. You want to meet with a probate lawyer RIGHT AWAY to determine what would be involved, and whether it makes sense to pursue this. There may be other ways of dealing with this, as well. If the collection has been appraised and the children are willing to accept cash instead of stamps, then you may be able to retain the collection in its entirety. If you can work something like that out, it would likely be preferable to further court proceedings. The chances of overturning the judge's decision on appeal are uncertain, at best.
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Discuss this with local counsel immediately. Time is of the essence to file an appeal.
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Time is of the essence when it comes to Missouri appeals -- and probate cases are not different. You need a lawyer in order to properly appeal the probate court's rulings -- although you are allowed to represent yourself. The right to appeal any probate Judgment is purely statutory -- which means that Missouri legislators have to specifically give you the right to appeal the action you are challenging.
Missouri probate law mandates that you file an appeal within 10 days of the date the judgment is final. Most probate orders are "interlocutory" -- which means that the order isn't final. If the order isn't final AND it is a type of order allowed to be appealed -- you have to file your Notice of Appeal within 10 days of the entry.
If you are out of time, you might be able to file a request to file your appeal out of time -- but you really need an experienced Missouri appellate attorney to represent you on this effort.
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This is a matter that should be discussed with a LAWYER IMMEDIATELY. The
time allowed for appeal is SHORT. I do not know what kind of judgment
there is entered in this. If it is a written order, take it to an
Lawrence J. Robertson, Esq.
Lawrence J. Robertson
Lawrence J. Robertson, P.C.
13321 North Outer Forty Road #300
Chesterfield, MO 63017
By the way..I'm never too busy for referrals. Most of the people you know or care about would probably benefit from an estate planning consultation. You would be doing a good thing for your clients and friends. AND the first meeting is FREE.
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Assuming this is in the St. Louis area, it can be treated as any court judgment. It is final 30 days after entered and then you have 10 days to file an appeal. That appeal goes to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District. it is extremely technical and you are guaranteed to have the appeal dismissed if you do not have an attorney. Unless half the stamp collection is worth at least $15,000, an appeal is not economically feasible since the costs of the appeal will easily exceed $7,000.00.
On a side note, the law also provides that on request of the opposing party, the Order will not be final until the final Order closing the estate. That might be a year or longer from now. The good news is that there is plenty of time to appeal. The bad news is that you can do nothing to prevent splitting of the stamp collection in the meantime.
This comment does not create an attorney-client relationship. The law and its application by the courts is constantly evolving and changing. This discussion is not to be taken as a definitive guide, and should not be relied upon to determine all fact situations. Each set of facts must be examined separately with the current case and statutory law analyzed and applied accordingly.