Defending Against a Will Contest

It’s a fair assumption to believe that when you or a loved one has taken the time to carefully plan out your Will, designate executors, and have it notarized, that there is no room for question or concern. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and Will contestations are more common than you’d likely believe. As frustrating as it can be to have a deceased family member’s wishes called into question, there are ways to defend against these claims.

As discussed in our January blog, there are a variety of reasons why one might contest a Will, including but not limited to:

  • There is reason to believe the decedent’s wishes aren’t accurately reflected
  • There is reason to believe the Will was created under undue influence, duress, or fraud
  • It is believed that the decedent was incapacitated when they created their Will

How to Defend Against Will Contestations

If you’ve been named the Executor of a Will, part of your duty includes defending against Will contests. This can be very stressful without the help of an experienced Florida estate law attorney walking you through the process. Many times, the cost of an attorney in the event that a Will is contested can be covered by the deceased’s estate. An estate law attorney may defend against the contest by deploying some of the following measures:

  • Proving that the Will was created in compliance with state requirements and was properly prepared, witnessed, and executed
  • Receiving testimony from the deceased’s physicians that they were in a sound state of mind during the time period the Will was created

In many cases, the above defenses can be implemented before the case sees the inside of the courtroom, via mediation or through attorneys.  

The Best Defense is Preparation

The very best way to defend against a Will contest is with prevention. Having a Will drawn up by a knowledgeable estate law attorney will ensure that yours or your loved one’s Will meets state guidelines. During the Will creation process, an attorney may arrange for a short video for the testator, so that they can verbally verify that they are of sound mind and body, and the wishes stated in the Will are their own.

Contact Us

Whether you are having difficulty in administering a Will or you’ve found yourself defending against a Will contest, Luis E. Barreto & Associates can help. We have years of experience assisting executors with both their regular duties, and aggressively defending against contestations. Don’t defend a Will alone. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case at (305) 358-1771.

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.