Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Fort Lauderdale Contested Wills Attorney Handling Complex Cases

We defend fair wills and help contest invalid ones

Whether you're contesting or defending a will, The Levy Firm PLLC can help. Our boutique South Florida law firm specializes in wills and trusts, as well as probate. Fort Lauderdale contested wills attorney Geoff Levy has the knowledge and resources to advocate for your rights and a resolution that meets your needs. Contact us for a confidential free consultation.

Why are wills contested?

Contesting a will involves legally challenging its validity or certain provisions. In Florida, you can contest a will on grounds such as:

  • Undue Influence. Suspicions that the testator (person who created the will) was coerced or manipulated into making specific provisions exerted by a caregiver, family member, or other individuals impacting the testator's decisions.
  • Lack of Capacity. Concerns regarding the mental capacity of the testator at the time of creating the will when evidence suggests the testator was not of sound mind or understanding the consequences of their decisions.
  • Fraud or Forgery. Discovery of deceptive practices that led to the creation or alteration of the will and allegations of fraudulent activities, such as forging the testator's signature or creating a false will could get the document contested.
  • Ambiguity or Omissions. Ambiguous language, omitted beneficiaries or assets, or unclear provisions within the will can cause confusion and lead to disputes among potential heirs.
  • Challenges to Validity. Procedural issues, such as improper witnessing or execution of the will, may be a foundation for allegations that the will was not properly signed, dated, or witnessed according to legal requirements.
  • Improper Execution. When a personal representative fails to fulfill their duties – mishandling assets, failing to adhere to the will’s terms, or neglecting legal requirements during the probate process – a lawsuit may be filed.

Not just anyone can contest a will. In Florida, those who can contest are “individuals with standing,” such as heirs, beneficiaries, those who would inherit in the absence of a will, and parties who can demonstrate a direct financial interest or property rights affected by the contested will.

Florida will contest and defense processes

Contesting a will typically begins with filing a petition or complaint in county probate court, outlining the specific grounds for the challenge. The petitioner must adhere to strict deadlines and procedural rules for the case to be valid.

Subsequently, the petitioner initiates the discovery process, gathering evidence to support their claims, which may include medical records, financial documents, and witness testimonies. Depositions may be conducted to obtain sworn statements from relevant parties. If a solution cannot be negotiated beforehand, the case proceeds to trial, where both sides present their arguments and evidence before a judge (and sometimes a jury). The court ultimately decides whether to invalidate all or part of the will based on the evidence and applicable legal standards.

Defending a contested will involves filing a response to the court, gathering evidence to refute allegations, engaging in pre-trial discovery, negotiating, and presenting arguments and evidence at trial to uphold the document's validity and the testator's intentions.

Whether you need to protect or defend a will, contact The Levy Firm PLLC

Controverting or defending a contested will requires an intricate knowledge of federal and Florida law as well as the ability to effectively represent your position in mediation or court. If you are in the position to defend or contest a will in South Florida, experienced probate attorney Geoff Levy can provide strategic legal guidance, build a robust case, and diligently advocate for your interests. Contact The Levy Firm PLLC to schedule a confidential free consultation with Geoff. He can answer your will-related questions and explain your options.

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Free Consultation. Contact Us Today.

If protecting your legacy and the financial security of your loved ones is a concern of yours, it’s a concern of ours. Let’s talk. Our law firm provides legal services in English and Spanish. Free consultations for new clients.

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