Florida Estate Litigation: 5 Reasons Someone May Contest a Pompano Beach Will
Thousands of probate cases are opened every month throughout Florida. Not all of these probate administrations will run smoothly. There is always the risk of a dispute between family members or other beneficiaries. A potential heir will allege a problem with the Will and push to contest its validity in some cases. A Will contest is a type of estate litigation wherein one or more interested parties want to challenge either a portion of or the entire Will.
If you are an interested party and believe a will is invalid, you need to speak with a professional Pompano Beach estate and trust litigation lawyer. Contesting a will can be a complicated legal process. It would help if you had a lawyer who has experience handling these types of cases. To successfully challenge a will, you need a valid reason. Someone can’t contest it just because they aren’t happy with what the decedent left them. Here’s a look at five reasons someone might contest a Will.
With undue influence, the interested party claims that the testator was coerced or forced to draft their Will in a particular manner. The improper pressure exerted on them is typically from a friend, relative, health care worker, or a trusted advisor. If you are contesting the Will, you will have the burden of proof. You must establish that the alleged undue influencer:
- Has a substantial beneficiary position under the Will;
- Had a confidential relationship with the Testator; and
- Played an active role in procuring the Will.
Lack of Testamentary Capacity
When someone isn’t of sound mind when they make their Will, someone else could contest it for lack of testamentary capacity. Someone drafting a Will must have the ability to understand the type of assets and extent of their property, the relationship with their heirs, and the practical effect of the Will. If you can prove testamentary incapacity, the court can declare the Will invalid. In some cases, someone can establish a lack of testamentary capacity through a prior medical diagnosis, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Another possible reason for contesting a Will is for fraud. Fraud happens when a beneficiary gets the Testator to change their Will based on lies or misrepresentations. This is not uncommon in families. For example, one sibling makes up a lie about another, which they tell the Testator. The Testator believes the lie is valid and changes their Will to remove the other child.
Inane delusion is when the Testator believes something is not true, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. For example, a parent might have an inane delusion that their child abandoned them. This delusion causes them to disinherit their child. However, the truth is the child visits at least several times a week.
Lack of Proper Formalities
To properly execute a Will, the Testator must sign and have two Witnesses present. These Witnesses must also sign the Will. If there is reason to believe the Will was not properly drafted, signed, or witnessed as required by law, then you can contest the Will for lack of proper formalities.
Contact a Florida Estate Litigation Lawyer
If you are an interested party who believes you have a valid Will contest, it’s important to contact a Pompano Beach estate litigation lawyer. You only have a limited amount of time to file, so you must act quickly. Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation.