What Can I Do if I’m Left Out of a Will?

Fri Feb 14, 2020 | Will Challenges |

Getting left out of a will can come as a tremendous shock. Not only is it hurtful, but it can raise questions as to whether the will is valid. Furthermore, important assets may now be at risk, causing substantial harm to your future security. If you’ve been unpleasantly surprised to discover that you were left out of someone’s will, you need to take immediate action to evaluate your claim and protect your rights. A Boca Raton will contest lawyer can help you navigate this difficult time. 

Gather the Pertinent Documents

When people are upset at being left out of the will, it is usually because they had reason to believe that they would be provided for. That could be because they were provided for in the estate plan, but the estate plan was subsequently changed. As a result, you want to gather any documents that you can that support your belief that you would be included. Ideally, this would include copies of any estate documents that you have been named in, such as a will or trust. If you do not have these documents, you can request copies from the executor of the estate. You should also request copies of any previous versions of these documents. In addition, any emails, letters, or any other correspondence that demonstrate an intent that you would be included may also be helpful. A will contest attorney can help you identify the documents you will need and evaluate whether they are sufficient. 

Determine Whether You Have a Basis for Contesting the Will

Assuming it is valid, the probate court will follow what is laid out in the will unless there is a basis for challenging it. Unfortunately, you cannot contest a will simply because it’s unfair.  In order to successfully challenge the will, you will need to prove one of the following situations applies to your case: 

  • The deceased was of unsound mind when they signed the will. For example, the decedent was suffering from dementia when they made the decision to leave you out of the will. 
  • The deceased was subject to undue influence. This can include any instance where the decedent was coerced or pressured to leave you out of the will. 
  • The deceased was a victim of fraud. In other words, the decedent was “tricked” into drafting or amending a will that did not include you. 

As you might imagine, many will contest cases involve all three situations – the decedent, suffering from some kind of mental incapacity, is coerced or fraudulently induced to sign or amend a will that did not include you. You will likely need to speak with a Boca Raton will contest lawyer to determine whether you have a valid basis for contesting the will, as it will require an in-depth review of the facts and knowledge of how the law will apply in your case.

Contact a Boca Raton Will Contest Lawyer

Will contests are complicated and are very difficult for non-lawyers to pursue successfully. An experienced will contest lawyer can help you navigate the issues and find the best way forward. Unfortunately, time is not on your side – call us today at 561-336-6358 or send us an email to schedule a consultation with an attorney.