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- Last Will & Testament thrown out as a product of undue influence when the document left the entire estate to only 1 of 6 children of the decedent.
- Joint bank account owner required to return all account funds to a Probate estate based on the determination they were "convenience accounts."
- Removal of a Personal Representative for misuse of probate assets.
- Represented surviving spouse in calculation and receipt of "elective share" from probate estate.
- Will Contests and Inheritance Disputes
- Advising fiduciaries regarding their obligations and duties
- Representing the interests of the estate, trust, or beneficiary in contests or disputes
- Advising beneficiaries regarding their rights and entitlements
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Probate Fraud
- Elective Share Claims
- Abuse of Power of Attorney
- Joint Bank Account Litigation
- Pay on Death Disputes
- Undue Influence ClaimsLack of Mental Capacity (Testamentary Capacity)
- Removal of Personal Representative
Will Contest | Inheritance Dispute | Undue Influence |
Lack of Capacity | Elective Share | Forgery
A Florida decedent's Last Will and Testament can be challenged in a Florida probate proceeding on a number of grounds.
Lack of Proper Formalities. Proper execution of a Florida Will requires that the document be signed by the testator and witnessed by two witnesses, who also sign the Will. A Will can be contested on the grounds that it was not properly drafted, signed, or witnessed in accordance with the applicable requirements.
Lack of Capacity. Under Florida law, a testator is required to have mental competency to make a Will and to understand the nature of his or her assets and the individual(s) or charities to whom the assets are going to be distributed. A Will can be declared void if lack of capacity can be proven. Typically, incompetence is established through a prior medical diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or psychosis, or through the testimony of witnesses as to the irrational conduct of the deceased around the time the document was executed.
Undue Influence. Undue influence occurs when the testator is compelled or coerced to execute a Florida estate planning document as a result of improper pressure exerted on him or her, typically by a relative, friend, trusted advisor, or health care worker. In many cases, the undue influencer will upset a long established Florida estate plan where the bulk of the decedent's estate would have passed to the direct descendants, family members or a charity.
The time for making a will contest in Florida is short, typically 90 days after the Notice of Administration has been provided by the Personal Representative, or 20 days in the event that Formal Notice of the probate proceeding is received before the will has been admitted to probate. Therefore, prompt action is required to bring your lost inheritance back to life.
Florida Elective Share: A surviving spouse may maintain a cause of action against a Florida Trust in order to claim his or her entitlement to at least 30% of the decedent's estate.
Marc J. Soss, Esquire
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