How Long Do You Have to Contest a Will in Florida?
The time to contest a will in Florida will vary based on circumstances. Generally, the time frame can be relatively short. In general, you have 3 months after the Notice of Administration is provided by the Estate’s Personal Representative. If you have already received a formal notice of the probate proceeding before the Will has been admitted to probate, then the deadline is shortened. You will only have 20 days after you were served with notice.
What are the Possible Outcomes When Contesting a Will?
If you plan to contest a Will, it is important to know what types of actions can result. Some possible outcomes can include:
- The Will is deemed valid and the probate will move forward according to the Will’s terms as stated.
- The Will can be deemed invalid, which means the last valid one may be reinstated. In the event there is no prior valid Will, then the estate will be distributed as if he or she died intestate, or without a Will.
- The Will might be deemed invalid or unenforceable in part, which means any provisions that remain are carried out.
There is no rule on how a Will contest will turn out. Whether or not parts of the Will in question stand up in court depends heavily on why the Will was challenged in the first place. For example, if the Will’s testator lacked capacity to execute estate planning documents, then the Court will throw the entire document out. If a Will is technically not valid, then that means no part of it will be enforceable.
Are There Risks to Contesting a Will?
It’s understandable that people may be concerned they stand to lose their portion if they proceed to contest the will. This is what is known as “in terrorem” clause. You’ve probably heard of people including clauses that say anyone who contests it will be cut out. Some states do allow these types of clauses, but Florida does not. This means if you are a beneficiary and you challenge the Will unsuccessfully, you will still be entitled to what was originally left to you, even if the Will says otherwise.
There is another risk you do need to consider, especially if the estate is small. By contesting the will, it could require the use of costly experts. This is one reason why speaking with an experienced Pompano Beach estate and trust litigation attorney from the start is so important.
Contact a Florida Probate and Estate Litigation Attorney
If you are planning to contest the Will of a loved one, it’s important you speak with an attorney right away. Given the potential short deadline that might apply, you don’t want to risk missing the deadline entirely. Contact Pompano Beach estate and trust litigation attorney Mark R. Manceri, P.A. today to schedule a consultation and let us help you with contesting a will in Florida.