Your mother was always quite clear about her estate plan. She wanted you and your siblings to equally share in her property. Maybe you have previously seen her estate plan or will that reflected these wishes.
However, after your mother’s passing, one of your siblings produced a document that seems to contradict her long-stated wishes. You may still stand to inherit some property, but one of your siblings received far more than the other beneficiaries in the estate.
Can you ask the Florida probate courts to review the situation and the validity of the last will?
There are numerous reasons that you could challenge the will
Different family circumstances may give rise to challenges against someone’s estate plan. For example, if the sibling who seems to have received far more of an inheritance than the other children in the family was a caregiver, you may worry that they exerted undue influence on your deceased parent for personal gain.
If a substantial estate planning change occurred late in someone’s life, family members may question whether that person still had testamentary capacity when altering those documents. You could also suspect fraud, such as someone creating a fake document and forging a signature or tricking your loved one into signing.
Any of these situations, as well as a trustee or estate representative using their position for personal gain, might justify family members or beneficiaries bringing a challenge in Florida’s probate courts.
Your loved one cannot prevent you from challenging their wishes
Some testators will include no-contest clauses in their documents that impose a financial penalty on any beneficiary who challenges there the state. In Florida, you do not have to worry about losing your inheritance over such a clause because the courts will not enforce a no-contest or penalty clause in an estate plan.
The inclusion of a no-contest clause does not necessarily invalidate the estate plan documents, but the clause itself is unenforceable in Florida. The probate courts will not uphold that clause or penalize you for challenging what you believe undermines your loved one’s intended legacy.
Understanding when you might need to go to probate court can help you handle surprises and disappointments while dealing with a loved one’s estate.