Under Florida probate law, if the probate process has not concluded, the will and last testament may be contested. Grounds for contesting a will in Florida, include:
- Mistake in Execution: Florida probate law sets forth the requirements for a will to be valid. If any of the provisions are not adhered to, the will is not a valid will under Florida law it may be challenged. For example, wills must be in writing and wills must be executed such that the person signing the will, the testator, must sign the will at the end, or else have his or her name subscribed at the end of the will by another in the testator’s presence and at the testator’s direction. There must be witnesses to the execution of the will.
- Lack of Testamentary Capacity: Florida law requires that a testator exhibit a minimum level of capacity to execute a valid will. Contesting a will based on lack of testamentary capacity is based on the belief that at the time the will was signed, the testator did not have the necessary mental ability to understand the amount and nature, and extent of their property and assets, the family members and others who would ordinarily receive such property and the purpose and effect of the will. Litigation based on lack of capacity relies on medical records and the conduct of the testator before signing the will.
- Undue Influence: This type of claim challenges whether the person making the will did so freely and without being coerced by a person who was in a position of trust and control. In Florida, an undue influence claim must consist of three elements: 1) the person who is accused of undue influence must stand to receive a substantial benefit pursuant to the will. 2) The beneficiary must have been in a confidential relationship with the person whose will is being contested. 3) The beneficiary must have been active in the procurement of the will. Meaning, that the beneficiary must have been in a strong or dominant position to influence the testator’s decisions about the terms of the will.
There are very strict timelines to follow if a will is to be contested. If you wish to look into contesting a will for the reasons stated above, call Van Riper and Nies Attorneys, P.A., with law offices in Stuart, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and Deerfield Beach. Our probate lawyers are also available for consultation in Port St. Lucie and Plantation, Florida to discuss whether you have grounds for contesting a will in Florida. Our probate litigation attorneys, Tim Nies, an Army Ranger Veteran and trial attorney for over 20 years, and Christian Van Riper, a former prosecutor, outwork opposing attorneys when fighting for the rights of our clients under Florida probate law. For more information on fighting or contesting a will in Florida, call day or night.