The Centers for Disease Control reported that the average death rate in the U.S. was 869.7 deaths per every 100,000 individuals in 2019. That same year almost three million Americans died. Death is an unavoidable fact of life and one that may leave behind probate issues as well as grief and mourning.
There are many reasons to contest a will, but not all are legitimate in the eyes of the court. There are grounds that the Florida government considers legal ones on which to challenge a person’s last will and testament.
1. The testator was a victim of coercion or fraud
Coercion occurs when someone threatens the testator to force them to change or write a will in a certain manner. For example, an individual hitting or threatening to hit the person counts as coercion. Fraud as grounds for will contestation manifests in two ways, tricking the testator with a false statement and producing a fake signature or document.
2. The testator was not mentally fit
Another argument an individual contesting a will may make is that the person who wrote it was not mentally competent at the time. Essentially, they possessed some form of disability or illness that made them incapable of making decisions with a sound mind.
3. The testator experienced undue influence
This is not the same as coercion since there are no threats involved. It occurs when someone close to the testator uses that position as a confidant to alter a will for personal gain.
To contest a will, an individual must have solid evidence and must take steps to do so before the completion of the probate process.