ATTORNEY: WOMAN BULLIED INTO CHANGING WILL

The will of an elderly Florida woman is being contested by her grandson after the woman’s estate was given to a local police officer. The officer stands to gain about $300,000 in connection with the probate decision. Estate litigation in the case began shortly after the woman’s death in 2012. She had changed her will and trust to include the officer as the beneficiary of her home, vehicle and various stocks and bonds.

The woman’s grandson said his 94-year-old grandmother was incompetent at the time the most recent will was penned; he had been named as a beneficiary in all previous iterations of the will, but a new copy failed to name her disabled grandson at all. The woman had drafted a new will and trust in 2012, just months before her death.

Attorneys in the case are representing several parties that had been named in all previous versions of the will but were suspiciously absent from the most recent version. The grandson is considered a “predetermined heir,” according to legal documents, which means that he should stand to inherit the woman’s entire estate.

Legal representatives assert that the woman was coerced into signing the 2012 documents. The police officer is implicated in the undue influence, according to attorneys in the case. The officer is accused of purchasing drinks for the woman and taking her out for trips to casinos and other area locations. The woman had reportedly planned to leave most of her fortune to charitable organizations, not specific individuals.

The disabled grandson is the woman’s only living relative. He stands to inherit about $1.5 million in property and assets.

Wills and trusts may be contested if the person drafting the document appears to have been coerced or bullied into changing the documents. Questions of competency can be answered through probate litigation. Heirs who believe their family members may have been pressured into changing their estate plans against their will should consult a qualified probate attorney.

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Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.