Who Can Challenge a Will?
When drafting a will, most people will focus on what assets will pass to their heirs. Unfortunately, they often fail to consider the challenges that may be raised or who may raise them. There are multiple parties that can challenge a will, some of which are more obvious than others. If you’re involved in a will dispute and wondering if you have a legal basis to challenge the will, a Boca Raton probate litigation attorney can review your case and provide you with the guidance you need.
Generally speaking, only people with “legal standing” may challenge a will, and who has legal standing will vary according to state law. Under Florida law, any “interested person” that “may reasonably expect to be affected” by the administration of the estate has legal standing to challenge the will. While this may sound straightforward, determining who may “reasonably expect to be affected” is fairly broad. As a result, questions of legal standing are often decided on a case-by-case basis. An experienced Boca Raton probate litigation attorney can handle the legal proceedings required for you to gain legal standing to challenge the will.
The Beneficiaries of the Will
The beneficiaries that are named in the will almost always have standing to challenge the will. They may want to challenge how the estate is being administered by the personal representative to the estate or the will itself.
The Decedent’s Heirs
The decedent’s heirs also often have standing to challenge the will. However, it’s important to note that the “heirs” may include people not named in the will. Under Florida law, heirs include anyone who may inherit property under the laws of intestate succession. As a result, the decedent’s spouse, children, or surviving parents may be able to challenge the will, even if they aren’t named beneficiaries.
Creditors are another party that usually have legal standing to challenge a will. They are considered “interested parties” because how the estate is administered may jeopardize their claim. For example, a will contest may arise when the decedent amended their will with the apparent intent of avoiding a particular creditor’s claim or to the detriment of a particular beneficiary’s creditors. Alternatively, the creditor may simply take an issue with the way the personal representative is handling the claim.
These disputes can be fairly complex, and the personal representative does have some latitude in determining which claims are valid and which are not. As a result, a creditor may first have to establish standing. A Boca Raton probate litigation attorney will often work with creditors to help them challenge a will over how it is handling their claims.
Contact a Boca Raton Probate Litigation Attorney For Help
Will contests are complicated and you could lose your claim forever if you fail to take action. At Ellis Law Group, we help people resolve the sophisticated probate issues that they are facing efficiently and cost-effectively. To schedule a free consultation with a Boca Raton probate litigation attorney, contact us today at 561-910-7500.