Vero Beach, FL – When someone is making their final estate plan, they should ensure that all other prior testamentary documents are revoked to avoid confusion or will contests. This can be done with the help of a legal professional, and it is important to do so for the purposes of making the testator’s intent entirely clear. If someone has different family members claiming to possess a valid will or trust, they may have to spend lots of time and money in court to sort these problems out.
What is the definition of a will contest?
If a person has made multiple wills, codicils, or estate plans in the past, there may be disputes about the deceased person’s true intent. Individuals who have been excluded from these newer, updated documents may try to contest the validity of the updated documents with the help of an estate planning lawyer. There are a few legal grounds that can be used to challenge the new estate plan.
Reasons to set aside estate plans or wills
The first is due to a lack of compliance with state laws. In Florida, there must be formal steps taken regarding witnessing and notarization to make a valid will. A testator also cannot simply write their own will, called a holographic will, and expect state courts to honor it. If the will is not properly signed, or does not meet all of the other requirements, it may be set aside.
Issues with mental capacity are another reason why testamentary documents may be invalid. The protections against mental health issues are meant to ensure that a person who is sick or elderly only makes testamentary documents and estate plans when of sound mind and free from outside influence. It is common for elderly people to be pressured into making financial decisions by various people, including their own family members.
Fraud is another common problem when large amounts of money are up for grabs. Someone who knew the recently deceased testator may appear in court with documents that seem to name them as a beneficiary, but in fact they are entirely fake and never made by the testator at any time during their life.
The process to void prior wills
Whenever anyone executes a new will or other testamentary documents, there is usually language that says this document is the final intent of the testator, and all other prior documents and estate plans are revoked. The valid document should be the one that contains this language, along with the most recent date.
Legal assistance related to estate planning and will issues
There are some complexities to estate planning that should only be discussed with a licensed attorney. The Estate, Trust, and Elder Law Firm handles these problems and provides solutions in the Vero Beach area.
Firm contact info:
850 NW Federal Highway, #1004, Stuart, FL 34994