A last will and testament is a legal contract, and disinherited family members cannot contest a will simply because they don't agree with its terms.
That said, there are valid legal reasons for challenging a will in most states. If the court decides one of these reasons exists, some or all of a last will and testament could be declared invalid.
Legal Reasons to Contest a Relative's Will in Florida
State laws vary on the reasons why a relative may contest a will in court, as well as what happens if the dispute is successful. Depending on what grounds the will is challenged, a Florida court may rule that one or more provisions are not legally-binding, or it can rule that the entire will is invalid.
Under Florida law, you can legally challenge a last will and testament if:
- The decedent lacked the mental capacity to sign the will. If the court finds that the decedent (the person who created the will) didn't have the mental capacity to make or sign the will, the entire document may be declared invalid. If this happens, everything in the decedent's estate will be distributed according to Florida's intestacy laws as if they had died without a will.
- The decedent was unduly influenced. A will may be void if someone else forced or influenced them to make a decision they wouldn't ordinarily have made.
- The will was procured by fraud. A will may be declared invalid if the decedent was deliberately misled by someone else, or if it was fraudulently created or obtained.
- The will wasn't created in accordance with state law. Each state sets forth procedures that must be followed in order to make a will legally binding. For example, every will in Florida must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the will. A court may invalidate documents that were not signed with the correct formality.
If you believe you may have grounds to challenge a loved one's will, the legal team at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis can advise you on your potential options. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation and get answers to your questions.