A will contest in Florida is done in probate court. In normal circumstances, a challenge to a will must be brought forward before the completion of the probate process. Besides that, Florida law requires anyone contesting a will to do so within three months after receiving notice of the will.
However, the period can be extended in case the notice was not given and the probate process is still ongoing.
Generally speaking, challenging a will is a tedious and complex process. You need a good, experienced will contest lawyer to increase your chances of winning the case.
The following are some of the common reasons for contesting a will:
A will can be contested if the person who made the will (testator) might have had a mental illness, delusion, dementia or any other medical condition that affected his or her proper judgment or execution of duties. The probate court usually orders for a medical diagnosis to determine the incompetence.
Besides that, the court will not only use the mental problem to arrive at a judgment. The person contesting the will must prove that the illness resulted in a lack of testamentary capacity.
Fraud is also another reason why a will can be contested. It is a situation where the will’s provisions are influenced by deception. For instance, one beneficiary might lie about another beneficiary to cause the testator to make changes in a will.
A person can also use tricks to make a testator sign legal documents that change certain parts of the will. The other thing could be a forgery of documents. You need the testimony of witnesses to prove that fraud indeed happened.
Undue influence means that a third party may have manipulated someone to change the provisions of a will for personal gain. This may involve modifying or executing documents or even removing the names of some beneficiaries form the estate.
It is often difficult to prove this type of case because the contestant must show that the action took away the testator’s free will.
Undue influence is one of the most common disputes as far as the validity of a will is concerned.
There are several factors that must be present for you to successfully challenge a will based on undue influence. They include the following:
- The person contesting must be a beneficiary of the will
- He or she must have a confidential relationship with the decedent
- The person was active in the procurement of the will
For a will to be considered valid in Florida, it must follow all the laws of the state. For example, the will creator must sign relevant documents in the presence of at least two witnesses. All the witnesses must also append their signatures during that time. Besides that, the will should also have a date to show that it is a current document.
If any of the above requirements are not met to the later, then someone can have good grounds to contest the will. It is always important to hire an experienced will contest lawyer to assist you in dealing with this type of a case. Doing it on your own or using someone who is inexperienced will lower your chances of winning the case.