A Last Will and Testament expresses the decedent’s wishes about how their assets are to be distributed to beneficiaries. When misconduct leads to a dispute regarding the distribution of assets from an estate, it’s vital to hire an experienced and skilled Florida probate attorney.
Any party who wishes to contest a will must have both the legal standing and the legal basis to do so. There are also strict deadlines for filing a will contest. If you believe your inheritance rights have been violated, you should move quickly to protect yourself.
The Business Trial Group handles will contests on a contingency-fee basis, so you will never pay a retainer or hourly attorneys’ fees for our probate attorneys. And we are only compensated once we successfully make a recovery in your case. We believe that your inheritance should be protected regardless of your financial circumstances.
To learn more about how our contingency-fee Florida estate attorneys can help, get started with a free case review.
Important Considerations for Challenging a Will in Florida
If you are thinking about challenging a Florida will, you need to keep in mind that only certain individuals have the legal right to do so—and then only on very limited grounds and within a strict timeframe.
Interested Persons to a Will: In order to file a Florida will contest, an individual must have what is known as “legal standing.” Individuals with the legal standing to challenge a will are “interested persons.” Florida law defines an interested person as “anyone who may reasonably be expected to be affected” by the administration of a decedent’s estate. Generally speaking, this includes beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors. Because an “interested person” is loosely defined, however, it means that the probate court must determine, on an individual basis, whether someone has standing to file a will contest. The court’s determination in part is based on the strength of the legal arguments put forward by the claimant’s attorney.
Filing Deadline for a Will Contest: Florida law provides a very strict filing deadline for will challenges—generally 90 days after the notice of administration has been filed. The notice of administration is a document filed by the estate’s personal representative with interested persons that include the decedent’s surviving spouse, beneficiaries, and the trustees of any trust bequeathed by the estate. In some cases, will contests may be filed beyond 90 days. But given the strong possibility of a 90-day filing deadline—after which claims are barred—any person considering a will challenge should promptly contact a Florida estate litigation attorney to start the legal process.
Legal Basis for a Will Contest: There are limited grounds on which a last will and testament can be contested. Assuming that a person has legal standing to contest a Florida will and also abides by filing deadlines, it is still necessary to have a legally valid basis for contesting a will. The grounds for challenging a will are described in greater detail below.