Not everyone is permitted to contest a will. An individual can only challenge the authenticity of a last will and testament if they have standing in probate court, which means they will be directly affected by the terms of the will. As a Florida resident, here are some important things you should know about contesting a will.
Heirs-at-law who are disinherited
Heirs-at-law are individuals who are so closely related to the decedent that they would receive a share of the decedent’s estate even if the decedent didn’t have a will. These can include spouses, children and grandchildren. The decedent’s siblings or distant relatives can inherit the estate if the decedent had no children or was not married. Heirs-at-law have standing in probate court. If they are not named in the will, they can contest it but must have cause to bring the case to court.
Beneficiaries or fiduciaries in a former will
An individual or entity named in a prior will need sufficient legal standing to contest a will in probate court if the entity or individual has been cut out of the current document. If a beneficiary was named in the original will but has been replaced in the recent will, the individual needs adequate evidence to challenge the decedent’s last will and testament, such as proof of the relationship or evidence of verbal agreements.
If you are in the process of creating or revising your will, speak with a qualified probate lawyer so that you can include terms and information in your will to protect your family. Thorough estate planning may help prevent your beneficiaries from questioning your wishes after your death.