There are a couple of reasons why a person can contest a will under Florida law, and one of them is fraud. Fraud in a context of a will contest may mean that one or more beneficiaries knowingly used false information, which caused the testator to change the will to their benefit. Therefore, if you’re an interested party and suspect that the will is fraudulent, you may consider contesting the will to protect your inheritance.
Common types of will-related fraud
- Fraud through duress: This could be the use of coercion or force to get the testator to change their will without reflecting their wishes. Usually, the third party has access or control of the testator and may use verbal or physical threats to the testator. While under duress, the testator knowingly alters their will, but they don’t do it out of their own free will.
- Fraud through inducement: With this type of fraud, the third party intentionally deceives or misleads the testator to make them believe false statements that can make them change their will.
- Fraud through active procurement: In this case, a third party may involve themselves in the testator’s estate planning process and secretly make some changes to the will. In most cases, the testator may not realize that they’re signing a different will from the one that was drafted as per their wishes.
How to prove fraud in a will
The law gives no legal effect to fraudulent wills. However, the judge hearing your will contest case will only declare the will void if you provide the proper evidence. Gathering evidence to prove fraud may require expert witnesses, depositions and subpoena evidence and documents presented in court.
Fraud is a valid reason to contest a will
While a will made with a lack of testamentary capacity can quickly be declared void, a fraudulent will may be complex to prove. Therefore, you should consider seeking legal assistance to help you gather evidence to support your case.