J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Attorney and CPA

What are viable reasons for a will contest?

People in Florida are frequently concerned about their will and how the will, will be handled after they're gone. In some instances, the family that was left behind has issues with the way the assets were allocated by the decedent. In situations such as this, there is consideration given to a will contest. There are many factors that go into the decision as to whether or not to contest a will and they must be considered before moving forward.

Each state has its own laws when it comes to will execution. In Florida, the testator must sign the will with two witnesses present. There are times when this rule might be flouted and in that case, it could be deemed invalid for violating that rule. There are times when the testator wasn't mentally able to deal with making a will. While it may sound like a shifty attempt on the part of those trying to get their hands on the person's assets, there are also times when it is simply a matter of circumstance that the person signed the will without the required mental capacity to do so. The testator must understand the assets and the legalities involved with signing for it to be valid. This is tough to prove in a will contest.

Nefarious activities can unfortunately happen when it comes to a will. A person who was influenced into singing it might have felt intimidated and not really intended to do so. If there is an odd amount going to one particular person after the death, then it's possible that the decedent was pressured. Fraud is also another unsavory act that happens. Perhaps the decedent was tricked into signing the will by being led to believe that it was something else. This is why it's important to have witnesses to the signing of the will.

Since there are often many assets at stake, it's no surprise that a will contest is considered when a family member doesn't feel as if the person was treated fairly. When there are massive assets at stake, it's more likely for there to be a dispute. To avoid this, it's important that anyone planning their will have professional legal assistance.

Source: FindLaw, "Reasons to Challenge a Will," accessed on Sept. 16, 2014

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