The ins and outs of contesting a will

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2021 | Estate Litigation

Disputing the provisions in a will is a time honored trope in TV and movies. In reality, that happens much less frequently than it did on Murder, She Wrote. There are very limited grounds on which someone can contest a will in Florida. They include things like not being signed in accordance with Florida state law, fraud, and undue influence on the testator. Understanding the grounds for will contests and estate litigation is helpful before attempting to bring a case.

Regulation of wills

Every state has different laws on the books when it comes to what counts as a valid will. One of the most important factors in these rules is how the will was signed. In Florida, for example, two witnesses are required at the signing. If that didn’t happen, the will may be able to be contested.

Other grounds for will contests and estate litigation in Florida include fraud. This would mean that the testator was tricked into signing a will they didn’t agree to. Or perhaps their signature was transferred from another document onto a will they never actually wrote.

Sometimes, wills are revised by people who are very elderly. It may be the case that they no longer had the mental capacity to create a binding legal document. Or someone may have exerted undue influence on them. A will written under duress, like any other legal document, won’t stand up in court.

Of course, proving that any of these things happened in the writing of a will can be a big hurdle. If you or a loved one are planning to challenge a will, it’s very important to get good legal advice. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you understand whether you have a case and how best to pursue it.