For Floridians who have lost a loved one, a fundamental part of the process is addressing the property left behind by the deceased. If there was a will, the decedent’s assets will be distributed as stipulated in the document. However, there are circumstances in which relatives and others who believe they should receive some of the proceeds are unsatisfied and want to contest the will.
Only certain people can contest a will
There are basic points to remember if a person is thinking about contesting a will. Only those who have “standing” can do so. This includes an heir-at-law and those named in an older will but removed in a subsequent will. An heir-at-law is a direct descendant who would have received a portion of the estate had that person died intestate, or without a will. Examples of direct descendants are spouses, children and grandchildren. Relatives omitted from the will may have cause to contest it.
If a person was in an older version of the will but is not in the new will, this can be cause to contest it. That also holds true for an executor or a fiduciary. People who do not fall into these categories cannot contest a will. This is relevant even if there are potential issues with the will’s validity. These factors should be known prior to attempting a will contest through estate litigation.
Knowing the law is imperative when considering a will contest
Contesting a will does not mean that the person will succeed. In general, there must be a justification to question the will, such as fraud, undue influence or coercion. People who do have standing to move forward with a will contest should understand the details and have experienced guidance to determine the preferable course of action.