What is Tortious Interference with an Inheritance?
There is a broad spectrum of potential claims when discussing probate litigation, with will disputes and breach of fiduciary duty claims being among the most common. However, there is a relatively new type of claim that is becoming increasingly common – tortious interference with an expected inheritance. A Boca Raton probate litigation attorney from Ellis Law Group discusses the nature of these claims and what it means for beneficiaries.
Who Can Pursue a Claim for Tortious Interference with an Inheritance?
Any beneficiary who believes that they have been denied their rightful inheritance by a third party can pursue a claim for tortious interference with inheritance provided that they can at least make a prima facie case. If you believe that you have been denied an inheritance that you had a right to expect, a Boca Raton probate litigation attorney can review your case and determine whether you have a claim.
What Do You Have to Prove for Your Claim to Be Successful?
Under Florida law, you must prove the following elements in order to prove your claim for tortious interference with an expected inheritance:
- That you expected to receive an inheritance;
- That the defendant intentionally interfered with that expectancy;
- That the defendant’s interference caused the expectancy to change; and
- That you suffered some kind of loss as a result.
While these elements seem straightforward, they can be more difficult to prove than you might expect. For example, Florida (and most other states) respect a testator’s right to dispose of their estate however they wish. If you suspect that you have been unfairly disinherited, a Boca Raton probate litigation attorney can determine whether you might have a claim for tortious interference with an expected inheritance.
What Makes These Claims Unique?
If tortious interference with an expected inheritance sounds similar to undue influence, duress, or fraud claims, that is because it is. The difference is that undue influence and other will challenges take place in probate court, while tortious interference is a civil claim. This means that you can pursue your claim for money damages after the estate has been closed.
However, this does not mean that you should sleep on your rights. Generally speaking, Florida courts will not allow a claim for tortious interference with an expected inheritance unless you have exhausted your remedies in the probate court. There are a couple of exceptions here, but the best thing to do is discuss your case with a Boca Raton probate litigation attorney before deciding how to proceed.
Contact a Boca Raton Probate Litigation Attorney Today
If you have suddenly found yourself left out of the will or your inheritance is significantly different than previously promised, you need to take immediate action to protect your rights. At Ellis Law Group, we understand the complexities of these claims as well as the challenges of family dynamics that you may face. We can evaluate your claim and develop a strategy for moving forward. To schedule an appointment to discuss your case, call us today at 561-910-7500 or fill out our online contact form.