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Contesting a will in Florida

People have the ability and right to designate the distribution of their assets. However, sometimes, outside forces influence those decisions.

In such cases, it may be possible to contest a will. There are a few key facts to know about contesting a will in Florida. 

Possible contesters

Not everyone can successfully file a contest to a will. For parties to qualify to file, they must fall within at least one possible category:

  • Distributees
  • Beneficiaries

While beneficiaries are parties actually noted in a will, distributees are people who usually receive an inheritance when an estate is , or lacking a will. A party may fit into more than one category, but parties are only required to be in one to file for contest.

Grounds

Along with belonging to a qualifying category, parties must state appropriate grounds for the contest request. A few common reasons include:

  • Undue influence
  • Incapacitation
  • Will fraud
  • Improper execution of the will

Along with the claims, parties must prepare to support their objection to the will as it stands. Appropriate documentation can be critical to this process.

Probate

Parties can submit their will contest during or before the probate process. Because the probate is essentially the distribution of the estate, any will contest movements should occur before distributing the estate. For parties who receive notice of the will, any contest must be submitted within three months of notice. Those who receive notice after have a longer period of time, but they should still file before probate completion. Parties should make sure they complete and file the appropriate paperwork to officially contest the will. 

The probate process can be lengthy and complex. Understanding the process and the appropriate means for contesting a will can aid in determining the best course of action.

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