Often we get clients who are interested in objecting to a will because of undue influence. In Florida there is a split of authority over what happens to a previous will when the most recent will is invalidated by undue influence. The results can be very different and may provide planning opportunities that could insulate from claim of undue influence. As you can see in the case information below, the court determined that the previous will should be valid, while other courts in the states have found that intestacy is the proper method distributing assets after a successful claim of undue influence. If you are changing your will or would like to talk about how to protect from claims of undue influence in Florida, you might talk with a Jacksonville Estate Planning lawyer or Jacksonville Undue Influence Lawyer about your options.
The case of Rocke v. Am. Research Bureau (In re Estate of Murphy), 184 So. 3d 1221
This is a case where the probate court revoked a will due to undue influence. The question then turned on whether or not the decedent’s estate should pass through intestate succession or by a previous will.
History of the case leading up to the claim of Undue Influence.
The testator was Virginia Murphy, a woman that passed away at the age of 107. Her estate was worth 12 million dollars. The decedent executed six wills throughout her lifetime. Murphy’s parents and husband predeceased her, and she had no children or siblings.