Navigating the process of contesting a will can often seem overwhelming, particularly when there is misinformation or misunderstanding. Common myths can confuse the process, potentially preventing you from taking the necessary steps to ensure your rights and interests.
To make informed decisions and actions, it is essential to debunk these myths about contesting a will.
Anyone can contest a will
Contrary to popular belief, not just anyone can contest a will. In Florida, only “interested persons” can challenge a will. Someone affected by the outcome of the estate’s probate proceedings is an interested person. This typically includes beneficiaries named in the will and legal heirs who would inherit if there was no will.
You can contest a will because you are unhappy with the inheritance
While it may seem logical, you cannot contest a will solely because you are not happy with your inheritance. There must be a valid legal reason for a challenge, such as improper execution, lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence or fraud.
It takes years to contest a will
While contesting a will can be a lengthy process, it does not necessarily take years. The timeframe depends on many factors, including the complexity of the estate, the grounds for the contest and the court’s schedule.
Contesting a will automatically leads to disinheritance
Many people believe that if they contest a will and lose, they will get nothing. While some wills include “no-contest” clauses that disinherit anyone who contests the will and loses, Florida does not enforce these clauses. Therefore, challenging the will does not automatically risk disinheritance.
Understanding the truth behind these myths can help you make informed decisions and take the appropriate steps to protect your rights and interests.