In the state of Florida, probate litigation is often referred to as a Florida Will Contest. Probate litigation can only occur when the will’s owner has died—contests cannot be brought to the courts beforehand. Probate litigation can occur for numerous reasons, including suspected forgery, undue influence or questioning the mental capacity of the individual. Determining who is involved in probate litigation depends on the claim, but there are some common parties involved in these types of situations.
The Individual Contesting the Will
Probate litigation occurs when a party contests the will. The party contesting the will could be a beneficiary listed in the will or a descendant that is not listed in the will, but feels they should be. This individual will be present throughout the probate litigation process and may hire his or her own estate planning attorney to represent the claim.
All beneficiaries listed in the will or those contesting the will are involved in probate litigation. While they may not speak to the judge directly, they may be present during the hearings.
In the event a will contest is made over a claim—such as forgery, undue influence, and so on—a specialist may be brought in to testify. For example, the individual contesting the will claims that the signature is a forgery. Their attorney may bring in a questionable documents specialist to analyze the signature and determine if it is a forgery. For cases involving mental capacity, medical professionals may be brought in to discuss the individual’s mental state, recite medical records, and so on.
Judge or Mediator
A probate court judge oversees probate litigations. A mediator may be brought in for settlements as a neutral third-party working for the court.
An estate attorney, while not required, should always be involved in any type of probate litigation. Contesting a will in Florida requires direct evidence of your claim. If you are contesting a will or you are defending your loved one’s will from an individual contesting it, you need the expertise of an estate attorney.
Contact a Florida Probate Litigation Attorney Today
The Law Offices of Peter M. Feaman have represented numerous families in their probate litigation cases. We can assist you with your claim or defending your loved one’s will. Contact us today for a free case evaluation by calling 561-734-5552 now.