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- What should you do if you believe a last will isn't valid?
What should you do if you believe a last will isn't valid?
In the state of Florida, is it relatively simple for an heir or family member of a deceased person with assets to contest a last will. You will, of course, need the help of an experienced probate and estate planning attorney to review the circumstances and file with the courts if you are contesting a will.
There are a number of reasons why people contest last wills. For example, an elderly family member could have been the victim of financial abuse while in a care facility. Alternatively, someone could have altered the last will in the last days of someone's life while the person was in declining health.
There are plenty of reasons to contest last wills
Financial abuse can be a real issue for those who live in care facilities. Employees there may consistently complain about their quality of life and convince the people they're paid to be caring for to leave them a substantial portion of their estate due to their hardship. This, of course, ignores that people working at an elder care facility are already paid for their work. Your relative may have been acting out of the good of their heart, but those manipulative staff members certainly were not. They were abusing their position of power to financially benefit from the kindness of their charges.
Similarly, if your loved one remarried in the last years or months of his or her life and completely disinherited the family, including children, in favor of the new spouse, the last will may not be valid. Courts can often see the questionable motivation behind people who manipulate those nearing death and will correct a will to reflect the lifetime relationships and intentions of the deceased, not just the people who were present in the final months.
People can't be penalized for contesting a will
It has become common practice for those who are creating their last wills and planning their estates to include clause in their will preventing people from contesting the validity of the document. Typically, these clauses reduce or even eliminate the inheritance of an individual who chooses to contest a will and go through probate court. However, in the state of Florida, those kinds of clauses are considered unenforceable. Even if the will states you cannot contest it, you absolutely can, without fear of losing whatever inheritance was already allotted to you in the document.
If you believe that there are issues with the last will, you should speak with an experienced estate law and probate attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney can advise you about the best way to proceed. Often, this will include contesting the will and going through probate court to have a more fair and reasonable distribution of assets.