A will contest is a dispute made to challenge the validity of a will. One reason is to verify the original intent of the testator or to prove fraud. In Florida, there are different types of parties who get involved in a will contest.
Heirs and beneficiaries of a will
The first individuals who can challenge a will are the immediate family members. In most states, spouses, children, siblings and parents are immediate heirs according to the estate law. The second types of contestants are beneficiaries who are listed in the last will and testament. They include all types of people like family members, friends, business associates or charitable organizations.
Initiating a will contest
An estate lawyer is typically hired to initiate a will contest. There needs to be a valid reason for contesting the will. Then, a claim is filed with a probate court, and the case’s evidence is presented in court.
The first step is determining who the beneficiaries are according to the last will and testament and the state’s estate laws. Every beneficiary needs to be notified of this objection and be allowed to participate in probate litigation.
Determining the validity of a will
Estate laws and court systems are obligated to uphold the last wishes of the testator and assume that every will is valid. However, every legal document can be debated and modified, even without the testator’s consent. In some cases, the intent of the testator is not always in the best interests of his or her beneficiaries. One of the most important steps is to determine who has standing in a will contest.