With people living longer and with the ever increasing numbers of “blended” families, it is not uncommon for a family member to get suspicious about another family member having prepared or changed their Last Will and Testament in a way that may be unfavorable. As a result, it is not uncommon for attorneys to be asked, “can I challenge Grandma’s Will now–while she is still alive?”
In Florida, the answer is clearly “no.” The Florida Legislature has enacted Section 732.518, Fla. Stat. which states that “An action to contest the validity of all or part of a Will or the revocation of all or part of a Will may not be commenced before the death of the testator.”
Perhaps one of the reasons for this law makes sense–until a person dies, they can amend their Will anytime. As a result, even if someone is suspicious about a Will having been fraudulently or improperly procured, or under duress, it can always be fixed prior to death. Once the person dies, then the Will becomes “final” and if there are grounds to contest it, they should be asserted at that time.
Family members and other interested parties who question the validity of a deceased person’s Will should consult an experienced probate attorney immmediately. There are strict time deadlines which must be followed in order to contest the Will and missing those deadlines can result in rights being lost.