The beneficiaries of an estate may, in certain situations, suspect that their loved one’s will doesn’t reflect his or her wishes. If this happens, there are ways to contest this document, that is, to challenge the legitimacy of the will in probate court. However, certain grounds need to be present in order to successfully pursue this.
Who can contest a will?
If you wish to challenge a will, it’s imperative that you have legal standing, the right to contest in court.
A will can be contested if you are:
- A devisee of the contested will
- A beneficiary of the contested will
- A person who would have inherited if the deceased had died without a will
What are the reasons to contest a will?
It’s only possible to challenge a will on certain grounds:
- Undue influence by another party
- Improper signature or lack of witness
- Existence of a more recent will
- Ambiguous language
Another important detail to consider is that, according to Florida statutes, an action to contest the validity of all or part of a will or the revocation of all or part of it may not be commenced before the death of the testator.
Furthermore, there are tight deadlines to contest a will. In the case of Florida, any interested person who received a notice of administration has only 3 months to challenge the validity of the will, venue or jurisdiction of the court after the date of service of a copy of the notice.
In summary, before contesting a will, it’s important to consider if you have a legal right or interest in the probate proceeding, the grounds for contesting, the timing and seeking legal assistance. Injustices can happen, but there are ways to correct them.