CONTESTING A WILL IN FLORIDA
In Florida, contesting a will is done through probate court. In most cases, challenges to a will must be submitted before the probate process is complete. More specifically, the challenge must be filed within three months of receiving notice regarding the will; this duration can be extended if notice was not provided and the probate process is still ongoing. There are many reasons for contesting a will in Florida; this ranges from issues with the document itself, to unfortunate foul play from a family member, caregiver, or another party. Needless to say, these cases can be highly complex and emotionally draining for those involved; therefore, legal representation by a Florida probate lawyer experienced in will contests is extremely vital for your case.
The probate attorneys at Di Pietro Partners, LLP have decades of trial experience and are experienced with many aspects of Florida estate litigation including will contests. If you have legal issues with a will anywhere in the State of Florida, call our lawyers for a free and confidential case evaluation today 1.800.712.8462
Please note: for issues not involving disputes/litigation such as updating or drafting a will, contact us at our local office in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. 954-712-3070
Reasons For Contesting a Will in Florida
In order for a will to be contested in Florida, valid legal grounds are required. Someone cannot simply contest a will because they disagree with the division of assets, or have a bad relationship with a testor/beneficiary. With that said, there are circumstances where a will can be disputed in a court of law; these circumstances include, but are not limited to the following:
Validity – This remains one of the most common reasons for challenging a will. This may include challenging the validity of a will based on the competency of the party drafting the will, disputing the validity of a will based upon the existence of additional or subsequent documents, or challenging validity based upon undue influence over the decedent prior to death.
Estate fraud – If a will is executed under false pretenses, it may be contested. For instance, if a beneficiary, lies or misrepresents facts to the testor, and the will is altered based on these false facts, victims may challenge the will.
Forgery – Needless to say, if a will, or any other legal document is fraudulently signed, it’s considered invalid in a court of law.
Mental capacity – Wills need to be formally drafted, signed, witnessed, and executed by someone with full mental capacity. In other words, this individual must possess the ability to comprehend the assets, beneficiaries, and effect of the document. Common reasons a will is contested on the grounds of mental capacity involves testors with late-life diseases such as alzheimer’s and dementia. Other factors that may contribute to diminished mental capacity include: brain injuries, disability, intoxication (including prescribed medication), and more.
Improper execution of the will – Simply put, if a will was not properly signed, drafted, or witnessed, it can be contested in court. Under Florida law, this includes a proper signature by the testator of the will along with two witnesses. Florida Statute 732.502 details the specific process involved in valid execution of a will. According to the Statute, “The testator must sign the will at the end; The testator’s name must be subscribed at the end of the will by some other person in the testator’s presence and by the testator’s direction…” (The Florida Senate, 732.502 Execution of wills, 2011)
Get Help Today
The lawyers at Di Pietro Partners are highly experienced in cases involving probate and wills. Our main office is in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and we’re dedicated to serving clients involved in estate litigation cases anywhere in Florida. This includes clients who are currently located outside the State, but have matters related to probate litigation/contesting a will in Florida. If you believe you have valid legal grounds to dispute a will, or are being wrongfully challenged and need proper defense, call our offices for a free consultation today 1.800.712.8462