Contesting Beneficiary Designations In Florida
If you were expecting to inherit from a family member or loved one, and had a reasonable basis on which to believe you were inheriting, it can be a strong indicator of fraud or other invalidating activities. If your inheritance was not what you expected, or you were surprised to learn that you were no longer included in the will as a beneficiary, an experienced Florida estate litigation attorney can help you fight to get the inheritance that you are entitled to.
Reasons to Challenge a Beneficiary Designation
- Undue influence. One common indicator of undue influence is when the testator includes their caretaker as a beneficiary or their primary beneficiary. Because caretakers have a confidential relationship with the testator and an inherent imbalance of power, these designations should always be viewed with scrutiny. When a claim of undue influence is made, the burden of proof shifts to the party accused to prove that they did not unduly influence the testator.
- Lack of Capacity. A testator must be competent in order to make a valid will and enter into effect decisions about their estate. If a testator was not competent when they made the most recent version of their will or amended it to include or exclude certain beneficiaries, you can challenge the validity of the designation.
- If the will seems highly suspicious, and the designations do not at all line up with the intentions that the testator had previously expressed, it is possible that this version of the will or certain changes to it were forged. Another indicator of forgery is large gifts and designations to individuals who are strangers to those close to the testator or who only knew the testator for a short time before their death.
- This is probably the least common basis for challenging a beneficiary designation, however, if it is clear that the testator merely forgot to include one beneficiary, or named someone twice by accident, instead of listing the intended second party, then the intended second party has standing to challenge the beneficiary designation on the basis of mistake.
- Doesn’t meet requirements. If a will or beneficiary designation does not meet certain statutory requirements, such as being signed in the presence of two disinterested witnesses, then it can be challenged on those grounds. These circumstances may also indicate other issues, such as undue influence or forgery.
- Intentional Interference. If someone intentionally interfered with your expected inheritance and was successful in having you removed as a beneficiary as a result, you may be able to recover the financial damages that you suffered by bringing a claim for tortious interference with an expected inheritance.
Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. to Schedule a Consultation
If you believe that you have standing to challenge a loved one’s will, Pompano Beach estate & trust litigation lawyer Mark R. Manceri, P.A. wants to hear from you. He will fight to make sure that you get your rightful inheritance. Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. today to schedule a consultation.