A will articulates how you want your assets to be inherited when you die. Without one, it would be up to the state of Florida to determine who gets what, and you may not like this.
While the will is meant to eliminate potential confusion and conflicts, it is not uncommon for this estate planning document to become a serious bone of contention. But why would someone contest your will?
Here are three main reasons why your Florida will can become the subject of a court battle.
You signed the will under undue influence
Undue influence is one of the leading reasons why wills are invalidated. Basically, undue influence happens when someone who is in the position of influence mounts pressure on the testator to include provisions that they would otherwise not have in the will were they to act freely. For instance, undue influence would be likely in a situation where the deceased left a substantial amount of wealth to a caregiver they just met.
You lacked the mental capacity to sign the will
For your will to be valid, you must be of sound mind at the time of creating and signing it. Meaning, you must have a clear understanding of the assets you own, the beneficiaries in your will, and the overall implication of your will. A will that is signed when your dementia is at advanced stages, or when you are on your death bed may be contested on incapacity grounds.
Issues with how you created the will
Florida has very precise guidelines when creating a will. For your will to be valid, it must be in writing, and you must be at least 18 at the time of creating the will. Additionally, the will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, who must also append their signatures to the will. Your will shall be contested if any of these requirements are not met.
A will is a very important estate planning document. However, if there are problems with its provisions, the entire document can be invalidated.