When it comes to the distribution of assets after someone dies, a will is a crucial document. Will contests are legal disputes that can impact the intended distribution of an estate.
Understanding the relevant laws helps you achieve your desired outcome.
Grounds for contesting a will
Florida law outlines specific grounds on which a person can contest a will. Common reasons include claims of:
- Undue influence
- Lack of testamentary capacity
If you believe someone coerced or manipulated the deceased when creating the will, or if there are concerns about their mental capacity at the time of drafting, these are valid grounds to contest the will.
In Florida, you have 90 days to challenge a will after a notice of administration filing. If you receive a formal notice of the probate proceeding before the will goes to probate, your deadline is 20 days after the service of notice.
An interested party with standing refers to a person with the legal right to challenge the validity of a will in court. Parties who can contest a will can include family members, beneficiaries or anyone who would typically inherit under the law.
Probate is the legal procedure through which the courts distribute a deceased person’s assets. You must file your petition in the appropriate probate court. If the will contest is successful, it may lead to a different distribution of assets. A 2023 study shows that only 34% of people in the United States have an estate plan to help protect their holdings.
It can be challenging to prove a will contest, as it requires solid supporting evidence. It is important to know your rights and the laws and procedures in Florida.