Following the death of a loved one, his or her will may be challenged in court. However, not everyone can challenge this document, which details the deceased person’s expressed wishes. Only interested persons in Florida have the right to challenge wills, and even then, this form of probate litigation is allowed only for legitimate legal reasons.
According to the probate code, interested persons include the deceased person’s children, devisees, heirs, spouses and creditors. These are essentially any individuals who have rights to or claims against the deceased person’s estate. Therefore, the parties who are allowed to challenge the content of wills usually fall under three categories: heirs, beneficiaries of subsequent wills and beneficiaries of prior wills.
When people think of beneficiaries, they often think of heirs, such as spouses, children and grandchildren. However, beneficiaries possess the necessary standing to challenge wills, even if they are not related by blood to the deceased. For instance, they may include pets, charities and charitable organizations, including universities, churches and synagogues.
When it comes to heirs, individuals such as siblings, grandparents, parents, children and spouses may go to court if their deceased loved ones never created wills, as the heirs would be the ones to receive shares of their estates via intestate laws. In addition, heirs may challenge their deceased relatives’ wills if they think they were omitted from these legal documents. Likewise, challenging a will is possible if an heir believes that he or she received a disproportionate share of the deceased person’s estate. An attorney in Florida can help an heir/beneficiary to challenge a will to ensure that the plaintiff’s best interests are upheld during each stage of the probate litigation process.