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When does a family member have grounds for contesting a will?

When can a family member contest a will in FLIn Florida, there are only a handful of legal reasons for contesting a will. If the will was created voluntarily by a person of sound mind and in accordance with state law, you may not have any legal basis for challenging it.

However, if you do have a valid claim, you should know that only certain parties can challenge the terms of a last will and testament in court.

Who Can Contest a Will in Florida?

In the Sunshine State, people who can challenge the terms of a will include:

  • Heirs-at-law. Heirs-at-law are close relatives that would have received a share of the estate if the decedent had died intestate (without a will). Under Florida intestacy laws, surviving spouses inherit first, then children, then grandchildren, then parents, then other descendants. As an example, let’s say Grandpa left a will that provides for his wife, children, and two grandchildren. The problem is, Grandpa had three grandchildren. This could mean that the will wasn’t updated to include Grandchild #3, or that Grandpa had his reasons for disinheriting her. If Grandchild #3 brings a claim, she has to prove that Grandpa didn't intentionally mean to cut her out of the will, or that will isn't valid for some other reason.
  • Beneficiaries. Anyone named in the current or previous versions of a will may have legal standing to make a claim. For example, an adult child may contest a parent’s will if they were named as executor in a prior will, but was replaced by someone else in the current version.
  • Guardians of interested minors. While minors typically cannot contest a will because they're not old enough to bring legal proceedings, a disinherited minor’s parent or legal guardian may be able to challenge the will on the child's behalf.

As the person bringing forth the will contest, you have the burden of proof in the case. This can be difficult, especially if you don't have explicit medical proof of incompetence or other evidence of fraud. We can help you gather evidence to establish that the will isn't valid, allowing you to collect what's rightfully yours.

The estate litigation attorneys at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis can meet with you to discuss your legal concerns and help fight for what you deserve. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation and get answers to your questions.