Can I Contest A Will For Not Being Signed?
Have you recently lost a loved one? If so, you may be experiencing the difficulties that come with mourning and processing upsetting probate news at the same time. No one wants to be focused on legalities and administrative issues while grieving the loss of a loved one, however, because of the way our probate court is structured that is often the case. There are many reasons that you may wish to contest a loved one’s will. Often, if changes to the will have caught you off guard or seem out of character for your loved one, this will be an indicator that they may not have been acting competently or by their own free will when their will was drafted. This can be a good reason to contest a will.
Reasons for Contesting a Will
You can contest a will if you are an interested party. Interested parties include potential beneficiaries of the will, such as immediate family members. When you contest a will, you are challenging its validity, and, consequently, its enforceability. You may do this if you believe for any reason that the will is invalid. A will may be found invalid if it was made under coercion, duress, or due to manipulation or undue influence. A will may also be invalid if the requirements for a valid will are not met. These requirements are defined by state statute, and include that the will must be signed in the presence of two competent witnesses. If the will is not signed by the testator, or was not signed in the presence of competent witnesses, then you have grounds to contest the will to try and keep it from being enforced. If the will is successfully challenged (i.e. contested), then it will not be enforced by the probate court. Instead of distributing the decedent’s will based on the wishes expressed in their will, the probate court will distribute their assets in accordance with Florida’s intestate succession statutes. These statutory guidelines favor a testator’s spouse and children. However, if they do not have a spouse or children, the guidelines give their estate to their parents or siblings.
Challenging a Will for Not Being Signed
If a will is left unsigned, or was not properly signed in the presence of two competent witnesses, it calls into question the validity of the will. Without meeting these requirements, it is impossible to know whether the will accurately reflects the wishes of your loved one, or if they were coerced into writing it or agreeing to it. Without competent witnesses, it is impossible to even know if your loved one was aware that the written document existed, as their signature could have been forged by another party. If your loved one’s will is not properly signed, it is important to contact an experienced estate attorney as soon as possible to challenge their will in probate court.
Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A.
If you have reason to believe that your loved one’s will is not valid, contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. to start taking action to protect their wishes and legacy. Contact Pompano Beach estate & trust litigation lawyer Mark R. Manceri to schedule a consultation.