If you or a loved one has been improperly cut out of a will or deprived of a rightful inheritance, an experienced Broward County probate lawyer can help you contest the will. Several factors can influence the success of a will contest, including time, situations prior to death, and legal grounds.
Contesting a Will in Florida
When a Notice of Administration is issued by a representative, you have approximately 90 days to contest a will in the State of Florida. However, in the case of a Formal Notice of a probate proceeding you are only allowed 20 days to contest. This means that prompt attention and action are necessary in disputing your inheritance.
Unfortunately, there are many situations when a will needs to be contested because of wrongdoing prior to death. If the estate plan was altered because an influence took advantage of a person’s weakened state, real estate, bank accounts, or other valuable property could have been signed over to said influence. In the event that the wrongdoing is discovered prior to the victim’s passing, creating a guardianship can allow the guardian to reclaim the fraudulently removed assets. This guardianship will also aid in any future will contest proceeding.
Grounds for Will Contest in Broward County
While there are many caveats to contesting a will in Florida, some of the most common grounds include:
- Estate Fraud: A beneficiary of the will causes the testator to make or change a will based on misrepresentations. An example of this would be a relative making malicious accusations about another beneficiary to the point of his or her removal from the will.
- Lack of Mental Capacity: Florida law requires that testator be of sound mental capacity when creating a will. It is crucial to the validity of the document that he or she understand the nature of the assets and their distribution.
- Insane Delusion: In the event that the testator, against all evidence to the contrary, believes that something is not true, and creates or changes an estate plan based on the belief it is called insane delusion.
- Lack of Proper Formalities: A will can be contested on the grounds that it was not properly drafted, signed or witnessed. Florida state laws require that a will be signed by the testator and witnessed by two witnesses. The witnesses are also required to sign the will.
If you believe that you were wrongfully excluded from a will or not granted the inheritance you deserve, a Broward County probate lawyer can help. Contact Shane M. Farnsworth to begin your consultation today.