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Do you have grounds to contest a loved one's will?

The loss of a loved one can hit anyone hard. You may have recently had a close family member pass and are trying to remember the wonderful times you spent together. However, something has been bothering you about your loved one's will.

You may have learned along with the rest of the family that your loved one had chosen to leave the majority of his or her estate to a seemingly random person or that he or she unexpectedly decided to cut you out of the will. Unfortunately, unexpected details emerging from a will can cause a great deal of confusion and concern, especially if you had anticipated different outcomes.

Has wrongdoing occurred?

While unexpected outcomes in the terms of a will can certainly happen for legitimate reasons, some circumstances could warrant a closer look. For instance, if your loved one left his or her estate to a caretaker or neighbor while leaving close family members with nothing, you may wonder whether that person took advantage of your loved one in order to gain favor. Unfortunately, this is only one type of situation that could cause concern.

Reason to question the validity of a will

If you do believe that some type of issue with the document or its creation could render it invalid under the eyes of Florida law, you may have reason to challenge the will in court. However, you need legal grounds to do so. Some examples of grounds to contest a will include the following:

  • Undue influence: In the aforementioned example, a person may have taken advantage of your loved one in order to benefit from the estate. In this type of situation, that person may have unduly influenced or manipulated your loved one into changing his or her will.
  • Testamentary capacity: If your loved one created the will after his or her mental state had already begun to decline, you may be able to argue that he or she did not have the testamentary capacity to make sound decisions relating to the terms of the will.
  • Fraud: You may suspect that someone created a fraudulent will in hopes of benefitting from the estate.
  • A more current will: It is common for people to update their wills periodically, and if someone is trying to use an outdated will, you could argue that a more current will trumps the terms of the outdated one.

You could also have other concerns that could act as grounds for contesting a will. If you believe that taking such action could suit your situation, you may want to consult with a probate attorney who could help you understand your options.

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