However, although it is possible to contest a will in Florida, there is a set of limitations that the contestant must act accordingly. In this article, you will find out the timeframe available to contest a will in Florida.
How Long Does a Beneficiary Have to Contest a Will in Florida? – The Verdict
Florida Statutes §732.518 provides that “an action to contest the validity of all or part of a will or the revocation of all or part of a will may not be commenced before the death of the testator.”
Hence, no last will may be contested by any beneficiary while the testator (person who wrote the will) is still alive. However, upon the passing of the testator, his/her last will must be submitted with a petition for probate in court.
Then, it is possible to contest the decedent’s last will during probate. Overall, the only period available to submit challenges to a will is before the probate process is concluded.
In Florida, most estates are formally administered, which requires the appointment of a personal representative to execute the decedent’s estate. One of the responsibilities of the personal representative is to issue Notice of Administration and notify all beneficiaries to the estate that there is a probate administration going on.
If one of the beneficiaries receives the notice but does not agree with the provisions in the decedent’s last will, he/she must file a challenge to the will within three months of receipt of notice.
It is important to note that the timeline to contest a will may be extended if notice was provided to the beneficiary in time. Hence, as long as the probate process is still ongoing, it may be possible to contest the will.
Regardless, probate cases involving disputes and challenges are typically time-demanding and emotionally draining for the parties involved. In such cases, the ideal strategy is to seek expert legal representation to guarantee a less stressful experience, and most importantly, a positive outcome.
Why Would Someone Contest a Last Will in Florida? – Most Common Reasons
If there are no valid legal grounds, it is impossible to contest a will in Florida. Hence, one cannot contest the last will due to a small disagreement with the division of the decedent’s assets, or family disputes with other beneficiaries.
Nonetheless, as long as the contesting party can demonstrate the existence of valid legal grounds to justify the action, the will may be disputed in a court of law. Among the most common reasons to contest a will in Florida, it is not uncanny to find cases involving:
- Improper execution
- Execution of the will
- The will’s validity
- Undue influence
- Improper removal of a beneficiary from the decedent’s estate
- Lack of testamentary capacity
- Insane delusion
- Situations when a will was executed, modified or signed under duress (e.g., threat of physical harm)
- Estate fraud (referring to a will executed under pretenses)
Do You Want to Contest a Will in Florida? – Call Your Florida Probate Lawyer Today
Contesting a last will in Florida requires a strategic approach, which only an experienced probate attorney can provide. Waste no time – call Attorneys Romy B. Jurado and Diana C. Collazos at (350) 921-0976 or email Romy@juradolawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.