Even though a will is a legally binding document, there are instances when an individual can legally contest the legality of a will. While you have to meet certain criteria to formally challenge a will, the law does allow for questions concerning the validity of a last will and testament. Florida residents should educate themselves on the process of challenging a will.
Do you have standing?
Before you get to present your reasons for challenging a will, you need to establish that you have legal standing to do so. Legally, only a person or entity who has a direct link to the testator and their will can file a legal challenge to the document. To have standing, you have to establish that you stand to be impacted by the will in its current state.
Grounds to contest a will
Being left out of a will or not receiving the assets you want is not enough to file a motion to contest the will. There are certain criteria that must be met before a judge will even hear your case against the will. Those grounds include:
- The will was signed under duress.
- The will was obtained by deception or fraud.
- The testator lacked the needed mental capacity to sign the will.
Other factors in challenging a will
Most importantly, you will need to file your motion to challenge the will in a timely manner. Every state has laws about what classifies as “timely manner,” and you are subject to the laws in the state where the deceased individual filed the will. Without these laws, estates could never be distributed due to fear of claims being filed against them years down the road.
If you want to pursue estate litigation, you should work with an attorney who is familiar with the process. This attorney may help you obtain the needed proof and represent you in the case when the judge hears your claims.