Challenging a Will in Florida

How to Challenge a Will in Florida

If you’re facing the difficult situation of challenging a will in Florida, it’s important to have a Maitland estate planning attorney on your side who understands the complexities of Florida law and has the skills and knowledge to help you navigate this legal process. Engaging in will contests can be difficult, especially if you’re still mourning the loss of your loved one whose estate is at the center of the dispute.

At Veliz Katz Law, we are dedicated to helping our clients protect their rights and interests in matters involving wills and estates. Our Maitland wills attorney will work tirelessly to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you receive the best possible outcome in your case. Schedule a free initial consultation with us today and let us help you get through this difficult time.


Who Can Challenge a Will in Florida?

While laws vary from state to state, all state laws have requirements that must be met before a will contest can take place. The first requirement is “legal standing”. You must either show that you were named in the will or show that you would have received something of value if the person had died without a will. If you believe you have the right to challenge a will, it’s important to seek legal advice from our Maitland FL wills attorney who can help you determine who can challenge the terms of a will.

In Florida, only certain individuals have the legal right to challenge a will. These individuals are known as “interested parties”, which include:



Beneficiaries are individuals who are named in the will to receive property or assets from the estate. Anyone named in the current or previous versions of a will may have legal standing to make a claim.



Heirs are the most commonly named beneficiaries in a will. They have the standing to challenge a will because they would have received a share of the estate through the laws of intestate

In Florida, heirs are determined based on state law, which sets out a specific order of inheritance based on the family relationship. Heirs include spouses, children, parents, grandparents, and siblings. They can challenge a will if they were omitted or were left with a disproportionate share in the inheritance. 


Guardians of Interested Minors

While minors typically cannot contest a will because they’re not old enough to bring legal proceedings, a disinherited minor’s parent or legal guardian may challenge the will on the child’s behalf. 


What are the Grounds for Challenging a Will in Florida?

When someone passes away, their assets are typically distributed to their heirs and beneficiaries according to their will. If you’re considering challenging a will in Florida, it would be wise to consult with a Maitland wills attorney to discuss your options and the best course of action for your situation.

In Florida, there are several grounds for challenging a will:


Lack of Testamentary Capacity

Lack of testamentary capacity claims involves someone alleging that the older adult no longer met the legal requirements to create a binding document. A will can be challenged if the testator does not have the mental capacity to understand what they were doing when they created the will. This can occur if the testator has a mental illness, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, had dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of incapacity.


New Wills Replacing Older Wills

New wills are generally understood to replace old wills. However, there are times that there may be confusion as to which will is the most current, and that can also be grounds to contest it. To avoid confusion, you may want to destroy any old wills you intend to revoke.


Undue Influence

A will can be challenged if there is evidence that the testator was unduly influenced by someone else when creating the will. Undue influence often involves someone pressuring a vulnerable testator, such as an ill person or an elderly, to change their will to benefit them. 


Fraud or Duress

A will can be challenged if there is evidence that the testator was fraudulently induced or coerced into creating or changing the will. It occurs when someone tricks the testator into creating a will that does not reflect their true wishes or forces them to create a will under threat or duress. 


Improper Execution

A will can be challenged if it is improperly executed according to Florida law. For example, if the will was not signed by the testator or witnessed by the required number of witnesses, it may be considered invalid.


How to Challenge a Will in Florida?

Challenging a will can be a difficult and emotionally charged process, but there are situations where it may be necessary. In Florida, the standard statute of limitations for filing a petition with the probate court is three months after the Notice of Administration is served. After three months, the objection is barred by the state, and no one will be allowed to contest the contents of the will. Only a misstatement regarding the deadline may qualify for an extension.

Our Maitland Wills lawyer can explain the steps, guide you through the process, and advocate on your behalf. 


Gather Evidence

To challenge a will, you’ll need to gather evidence to support your case. This may include medical records, financial records, and witness statements.


File a Petition

To challenge a will in Florida, you’ll need to file a petition with the probate court. You need to request that the court revoke or deem the will invalid due to undue influence, fraud, coercion, or other legal grounds.


Serve Notice

Once you’ve filed your petition, you’ll need to serve notice on all interested parties, including heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors. 


Attend a Hearing

After the notice has been served, the court will schedule a hearing to consider the case. At the hearing, you’ll have the opportunity to present evidence and arguments in support of your case.


Negotiate a Settlement

In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a settlement with the other interested parties before the hearing takes place. This can help you avoid the time and expense of a court battle.


Wait for the Court’s Decision

After the hearing, the court will determine the validity of the will. If the court finds that the will is invalid, it will be set aside and the estate will be distributed according to state law.


Why Do I Need a Wills Attorney in Florida?

There are many reasons people challenge wills. When family members hold conflicting perspectives about your loved one’s dying wishes, it doesn’t take much for a small disagreement to turn into a contentious legal battle.  If you have concerns regarding a will recently presented or admitted to a court, our Maitland wills lawyer at Veliz Katz Law can help. Here are some reasons why you might need a wills attorney in Florida:

  • Knowledge of State Law: We can help you navigate the legal complexities of challenging a will and other estate-related disputes.
  • Review the Will: We can review the will in question to identify any potential issues or discrepancies that could lead to a successful challenge.
  • Identify Grounds for a Challenge: We can help you identify the legal grounds on which you can challenge a will, such as a lack of testamentary capacity or undue influence.
  • Negotiate a Settlement: We can assist in negotiating a settlement outside of court, which can be a faster and less expensive option than going to trial.

Our estate planning law firm can ensure that your interests are protected throughout the process and that your legal rights are upheld. Contact us now and schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your legal concerns and help fight for what you deserve. 


Call Our Maitland Wills Attorney Now!

Initiating a legal action to challenge a last will and testament should be carefully considered.  A person cannot simply contest a will because he or she does not like the terms. It’s important to know your legal options for ensuring that your loved one’s estate goes to the right people.

If you’re facing the complex and emotional process of challenging a will, our Maitland wills attorneys at Veliz Katz Law can help. We can help you gather evidence, and advocate for your interests in court or settlement negotiations. We can also help you avoid probate disputes, minimize taxes, and provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Our estate planning law firm has been providing a broad range of legal services to individual and business clients in the Central Florida area for 30 years.  Whether you’re going through a divorce, child custody, probate, estate planning issues, or any family event that can leave you stressed, we are here to give your legal matters all the attention required. Schedule a free initial consultation with us today and let us help you protect your legal rights and secure your future.


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