How to Contest a Florida Will

December 18, 2007

will.jpgIf you feel that something is wrong with a Florida will because you are left out or your distribution doesn't seem fair, is there anything you can do?

If you believe a Florida will is not valid, you may be able to contest it. Proving a Florida will is invalid is a difficult process but not impossible. You must have some right to property to contest a Florida Will. You can not contest a will for someone when there is no indication that you would be a beneficiary.

Often wills contain no contest clauses voiding a persons interest if they contest the terms of the will. In Florida will contest provisions are invalid and ignored. If there was no will and you would inherited or become a beneficiary of their estate than you may have standing to contest the Florida Will.

Assuming you have standing to contest the will, the will can be contested only in certain circumstances; there must be evidence that something is wrong with the will. The situations in which a will may be contested are:

Mental incapacity: If you believe the decedent did not have the mental capacity to write the will it may be grounds for a will contest. To prove mental incapacity a statement from a doctor who examined the person around the time the will was created is beneficial. Medical records and witnesses can also be used to establish mental incapacity.

Fraud: Sometimes a person is fraudulently induced into signing a will. If fraud occurred or the Florida will was signed without the person knowing it was a will it may also be contested as fraudulent. Another type of fraud occurs when someone signs a will under a mistaken believe that caused a change in the will or the distribution of assets to a beneficiary.

Undue Influence:Often caretakers, friends, or children are in a position to exert undue influence over a person and induce them to change or create a will. Wills can be contested on the basis of undue influence. In some cases with a child, spouse, or agent there is a fiduciary relationship. When there is a fiduciary relationship the burden of proving undue influence can shift to that person to prove that there was no undue influence.

Not Executed Properly: On other way to contest a Florida will is to check and make sure that it was executed properly. A Florida will must comply with the statute of wills and be signed by the creator in the presence of two witnesses who each see the signing process. In addition a Notery must authenticate the signatures. If the Florida Will or Florida Trust was not witnessed properly, it may be invalid.

If you want to contest a Florida will, you should contact an Florida will contest lawyer immediately because a claim will need to be filed timely with the court.