What to Expect When Someone Contests a Will

Generally, when you create your Will, the last thing that you want to happen is a dispute among your beneficiaries or those who were not included in the Will. When conflicts like that arise, it takes much longer to get through the distribution and probate process. It is also a lot more expensive as well. Nonetheless, there are situations where disputing a will is a good option because you know that your loved one’s wishes are not really being carried out because of an oversight, mistake, or some other problem in the Will.

One of the first things that you should understand when a Will contest arises is what will happen if the person contesting the Will wins their argument.

What Does Winning a Will Contest Mean?

When you contest a Will, you are arguing that the Will is invalid. When the entire Will is invalid, that often means that the Florida intestacy laws will apply instead of the Will. In those situations, the Will does not apply any longer, and the decedent’s assets will generally go to their spouse or children, or closest living relative, depending on their family situation.

Florida law also allows for a portion of a Will to be invalidated instead of “canceling” the entire Will. That means that if one part of the Will was created because of undue influence, fraud, or some other illegal reason, then that portion of the Will can be stricken without any effect on the remaining parts. Not all states allow this type of change, but it is beneficial in some circumstances.

The Basic Outline of Will Contest Claim

Challenging a Will usually involves the following basic outline:

  1. The Will is Admitted to Probate

The Will must first be admitted to probate before any Will contest can take place. In many circumstances, loved ones only learn about the contents of a Will after it is submitted to the court to be probated.

  1. Receiving Notice of Opening an Estate

Those whom the Will affects will receive a Notice of Administration to let them know that an estate has been opened. However, if you are not explicitly named in the Will, you may not be notified that an estate has been opened.

  1. Filing a Will Contest

Florida has a quick timeline to submit a Will contest. Interested parties must file their claims within 90 days of receiving their notice that an estate has been opened. Although 90 days may seem like plenty of time, it takes a considerable amount of time and effort to retain an attorney, gather evidence to support your claim, and file a formal lawsuit. The sooner you act after receiving a notice, the better.

  1. The Lawsuit Process

Once you have filed your Will contest, you will go through the full lawsuit process with the help of your attorney. That includes gathering data, documents, and testimony from other people who may have valuable information about your claim. The team at Legacy Planning Law Group can help you through this often-confusing process. Call (904) 880-5554 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

Written by Legacy Planning Law Group

Legacy Planning Law Group is dedicated to working with individuals and families to help protect the assets they have built throughout their life, and make everything simpler for families who have lost a loved one. We help thoughtful people achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning their personal legacy and passing on family harmony.

Written by Legacy Planning Law Group

Legacy Planning Law Group is dedicated to working with individuals and families to help protect the assets they have built throughout their life, and make everything simpler for families who have lost a loved one. We help thoughtful people achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning their personal legacy and passing on family harmony.