By Coleman P. Hengesbach

The death of a loved one can carry a host of emotions to those left behind. For some, the death of a loved one can be an emotional roller coaster. These emotions can be further instigated when you find out that you were cut of a decedent’s will or trust. But, who can challenge a will and how does the process work?

When someone passes away, their Last Will and Testament is presented to Florida probate Courts to be administered in accordance with their wishes. Florida probate Courts are bound to follow the express language of a decedent’s will. In some cases, an interested party may seek to contest the will for a variety of reasons. These reasons may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Validity in the Execution of the Will 
  • Undue Influence
  • Duress
  • Fraud
  • Lack of Testamentary Capacity
  • Insane Delusion
  • Forgery 

Courts have defined an “interested party” as any person who can reasonably be expected to be affected by the outcome of the probate proceeding. For purposes of challenging a Will, an interested party may be a beneficiary of the Will being offered for probate. It could also be a beneficiary of a previously executed Will or an heir of the decedent. Courts will typically assess whether someone is an interested party on a case by case basis. 

Under Florida law, you also have a limited time to challenge a Will being offered for probate. Generally speaking, a Will must be challenged within 90 days after receiving Notice of Administration. This deadline can vary depending on the circumstances, and even shortened in some situations. 

Navigating Florida’s probate process is complex, especially if you are seeking to challenge someone’s Last Will and Testament. If you do find yourself in a position where you wish to challenge a Will being offered for Probate, contact an experienced probate litigation attorney for a full evaluation of your rights. 

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