Challenge to a Will in Florida and Defense to Will Challenges
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In Florida people have the freedom of disposition. This allows a person to give away property during life or after death, decide to whom to give property, and how the gift will transfer. Sometimes people tend to give more generously to others who offered better companionship than blood relatives or to those who are needier or to favored charities. These tendencies may leave certain lineal descendants or other interested parties nothing or substantially less than expected. This can lead to litigation in the form of challenging the validity of the will.
Why Do People Challenge Wills?
Some feel particular assets should stay within the family. Others may feel that the distribution was not the true intent of the deceased. Some people believe it’s entirely about money.
The legal system also gives the will challenger much to gain and little to lose in a challenge to a will. The estate is responsible for the defense of the will, and in some cases a good-faith plaintiff’s costs as well. Even when the legal basis for the will contest is not particularly strong, the imposition of defense costs may bring a counter party to a settlement table in order to avoid expensive and protracted litigation.
Different Types of Will Challenges
Sometimes will challenges result from the beneficiary’s disagreeing with what is known as “Deadhand control.” Deadhand control occurs when a clause of a will requires a condition be fulfilled for a beneficiary to receive a particular gift, such as “$10,000 if Sue has married John.” Dead hand control clauses often invite will challenges as a common argument is that the condition violates public policy.
Challengers also commonly contest wills on validity of the will based upon the testator’s mental capacity at the signing of the will. A claim that the testator was under undue influence, duress, or was delusional at the creation are other common tactics. A consideration in such defense is that probate records are public, which gives the challenger an opportunity to “family secrets” revealed in public records.
As you probably ascertain in just this short entry, Florida will contests and defenses can be a hornet’s nest.
Our Florida will contest attorneys and Florida will contest defense lawyers can help.
We will provide you with straight forward, and easy to understand explanations of complex legal concepts with respect and compassion during this often frustrating and emotional time.
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We understand the stress, emotion and sleepless nights that come when you feel that someone is trying to cheat you out of what you rightfully deserve, because we’re people.
We also happen to be Florida Wills and Trusts Attorneys.
We can help. Our Palm Beach, Miami Dade and Broward wills and trusts lawyers handle a challenge to a will, as well as defend a will challenge. In either case to protect your inheritance and get you what you deserve.
Our Florida wills and trusts lawyers serve clients in Palm Beach County, Broward County, Miami Dade County, and most other Florida cities and counties.
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