Challenging a will is not an easy thing because the court views a will as the last wishes and voice of the decedent. Anyone who may have something to gain from the estate has a right to contest a will, but they must have the grounds to do so.
A person may challenge a will based on one or more of the following criteria:
- Lack of testamentary capacity: When a will is challenged on this ground, it is usually on the basis that the decedent suffered from some kind of mental incapacity, such as senility, dementia, insanity, or was under the influence of a mind-altering substance. Minors are not considered to have testamentary capacity unless they are married or serve in the military. The witnesses who signed the will usually will testify as to whether or not the decedent had testamentary capacity at the time the will was written.
- Fraud, forgery, or undue influence: You may contest a will on this ground if the decedent was manipulated into leaving all or much of the estate to the manipulator.
- New Trumps Old: If there is a newer, valid will than the one going through the probate process, then the new will trumps the current will. This is why dates on wills are so important.
- Validity: In Florida, the will must be signed by two witnesses. If the will is not considered valid according to Florida state law, then you have grounds to contest it.
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