Florida Statutes Contesting a Will
There are a handful of Florida Statutes that family members and heirs should read before you contest a will. And if you are non-family member, but were cut out of a will, you need to understanding the Florida Probate Process. You can read these laws for free and relatively quickly. Below is a plain-English, easy-2-understand guide to Florida Statutes Contesting a Will. To see a FREE LEGAL VIDEO about a will contest, CLICK HERE.
Florida Probate Code vs. The Rules
Start by reading the Florida Probate Code. That begins with Florida Statutes 731 and goes forward. It provides some excellent background like a definitions section. That will help you determine “who’s who.” One of the first things you need to do is determine standing. Do you have the legal ability to contest a will? If you are a beneficiary or personal representative under a prior will, you have standing. But not everyone has standing, including some close family members. To read about heirship + standing and a recent decision, click HERE. There are more probate statutes about judicial proceedings and trying to revoke probate.
Getting Ready to Contest
Contesting a will in Florida can be done before probate is opened, or after. But, it has to be done after someone’s death, not before. If a probate has not been opened, then open one by filing a petition for administration. If a probate is already open, then file a response to the Petition for Administration. Then file a Petition to Revoke Probate as a Counter Petition. Now, the probate code is different from the Probate Rules. The Florida Probate Rules guide you for your estate or probate matter. But don’t forget about the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. They still apply in Florida Probates when a matter is declared ADVERSARY. Will contests are adversary. See Florida Probate Rule 5.025 (a). Finally, remember that in courts of law, including Florida Probate Courts, you need evidence. You can’t just go in there and argue for “justice” or “equity.” So, if you are going it alone, read the Florida Evidence Code. If you are interviewing probate litigators, look out for the ones who really don’t handle trials. They say they go to court, but how many trials have they actually had in the last year? And some probate lawyers in Florida want to settle all your cases at mediation. If that’s for you, that’s fine. But if you want an experienced aggressive probate litigator, keep interviewing.