What you need to know about contesting a will in Florida

Those here in Florida who have ever lost a loved one are probably fully aware of the challenging times this can present. In addition to the grieving process and trying to stay strong and move forward, there is also a chance that you could be involved in many of your deceased loved one’s estate-related affairs. Some of these matters have the potential to create an emotional and contentious environment between everyone in the equation, including family members.

This can especially be the case in situations where there is a challenge to the validity of a will. In the state of Florida, you only have 90 days from when you receive formal notification of the probate court proceedings to contest a will. You also do not have the right to challenge a will simply because you disagree with it or believe it is unfair.

Legal grounds for contesting a will

There are several legitimate reasons, however, as to why you may be entitled to formally contest someone’s will. First and foremost, it is not legal for you to challenge a will until the individual is deceased. Second, you must be someone who has a legal interest in the probate process, such as an heir, beneficiary or creditor, to be eligible. Finally, you need a valid reason for contesting the will, which typically includes one of the following grounds:

  • Lack of capacity: The deceased individual may have lacked testamentary capacity at the time of establishing the will for reasons such as dementia, the influence of drugs or alcohol, or another medical problem.
  • Undue influence: Someone who could substantially benefit from the will may have inappropriately coerced the testator into making alterations to it.
  • Execution irregularities: A specific legal requirement, such as the will being in writing and signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses, may not have occurred.

The limited time frame involved in challenging a will along with all of the legal complexities can create a lot of stress and potential complications. Fortunately, there is professional help and support readily available if you are facing these circumstances. An experienced Florida attorney can address all your questions and concerns, carefully guide you through every step of the process and increase the odds of achieving your desired outcome.