4 Reasons a Will Might be Contested

Estate Planning 16When someone first hears about what is included in the Will of a recently deceased loved one, it is not uncommon for there to be surprise and disappointment. People often expect more than they actually get as an inheritance. Just because someone doesn’t like the contents of a Will, however, does not mean that it is invalid or can be successfully contested. The courts typically uphold the wishes listed in a Will unless there is a clear reason not to. The following are among the most common reasons why someone may be able to successfully contest the Will of a loved one.

1. Undue Influence on the Testator

One common reason why a Will can (and should) be contested is that the testator (deceased individual who the Will is for) was unduly influenced by another party. For example, if you had a relative who was providing care for your loved one while they were ill, it is possible that they used their influence to convince them to update the Will to leave everything to them. 

If you suspect that your deceased loved one was influenced in this way, you will have to be able to show the courts not only that someone was unjustly influencing your loved one, but that your loved one would have been unable to resist. For example, if they had Alzheimer’s or were otherwise susceptible to the influence of others.

2. The Testator Was Mentally Unable to Sign the Will

As people age, their mental capacity often diminishes. In order to sign any legal document (including a Will), it is required that the person be mentally competent to understand what they are doing. If you can show that your loved one was mentally incapacitated to make an informed decision at the time when they last updated their Will, it may be able to be invalidated. This is often a difficult thing to prove, however, as the courts will tend to side with an established Will unless there is undeniable proof that they shouldn’t.

3. Improper Signing of the Will

In order for a Will to be valid in Florida, it must be signed by the testator in front of at least two witnesses. If this was not done, the Will may be invalid and easily contestable. Of course, you’ll have to be able to show that this was the case, which may be quite challenging.

4. Fraudulent Will

Finally, if a Will is shown to be fraudulent, it will be thrown out by the courts. If you believe a loved one created a fake Will and had it presented to the court, for example, you will need to show that this is the case. Not only will this allow you to contest the Will, it will also land the party attempting to defraud the courts in serious legal trouble.

Experienced Attorneys

If you believe that your loved one’s Will is invalid, we can help you to prove your case to the courts. Please contact us to schedule a consultation and discuss your options. We’ll let you know if you have a good chance at successfully overturning a Will, and help you throughout the process.


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