What Are The Grounds For Contesting A Will In Volusia County?
Wills are intended to outline the last wishes of the testator, the person who created the will, after they pass away. While wills are generally upheld in the probate courts, sometimes there are reasons to contest these documents. Contesting a will means you want to challenge its validity and are asking the probate court to deem it as void and throw it out.
Not everyone in Florida has the right to contest a will. Only beneficiaries that will benefit from voiding a will can contest one. Even when a beneficiary believes they have the right to challenge a will, they must have certain grounds for doing so. Below, our Volusia County wills and trusts lawyer outlines the legal grounds for challenging a will.
The Will Was Not Drafted Properly
When writing a will in Florida, it must meet certain legal requirements. For example, testators must be at least 18 years old and they must also sign the will. All wills must be in writing and at least two witnesses must sign it. Witnesses must be disinterested parties, meaning that they have nothing to gain from the will. If any of these requirements are not met, that can serve as grounds for contesting a will.
The Testator Did Not Have the Mental Capacity to Draft a Will
Anyone who drafts a will in Florida must have the mental capacity to do so. When contesting a will on the grounds that the testator did not have the mental capacity, you must prove this claim. Medical documents and other documentation can help prove this claim. Even when you do have the necessary evidence, contesting a will on the grounds of a lack of mental capacity is not easy. The opinions of the doctors involved may be challenged, and if the probate court recognizes a moment of clarity, that can also make it more difficult to contest a will.
You can challenge a will on the grounds of duress, but this is also very difficult. When claiming a will was written or signed under duress, it means the testator was pressured to write or sign a will and that if they refused to do so, their safety would be in jeopardy. Like proving that a testator did not have the mental capacity to write a will, proving duress is very difficult.
When fraud was involved with the writing of a will, it means an heir or beneficiary lied to the testator in order to have certain provisions included in the will or to persuade the testator to make changes to their will. For instance, a beneficiary may lie about another heir and say they spoke badly about the testator in order to receive a larger inheritance. This is fraud and if it can be proven, it can serve as grounds to contest the will.
Call Our Wills and Trusts Lawyer in Volusia County for Help with Your Case
Whether you believe you have grounds to contest a will or you need to draft one, our Volusia County wills and trusts lawyer at Bundza & Rodriguez can help with your case. Call or text us now at 386-252-5170 or chat with us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.