Contested Wills in Palm Bay, Florida

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Palm Bay, FL

In Palm Bay, Florida, there is a procedure through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is identified as a "contested will" or "will contest."

Sometimes, testators leave out of their wills people who might naturally expect to inherit a substantial portion of the testator's estate (spouses and children, for example). This might lead them to assume, truthfully or not, that the will was some kind of mistake.

If a considerable amount of money is involved, someone who was left out of a will, or not given what they were expecting, might believe that contesting the will is worth the time, money, and energy that doing so would require.

Like any legal matter, however, this should not be taken lightly. Will contests can foster conflict and strife within families who are already mourning a loved one. This can cause severe and irreversible damage to family relationships.

When Can a Will be Contested in Palm Bay, Florida?

A court in Palm Bay, Florida will not entertain a will contest unless there is a very good reason to do so. However, there are some allegations which, if proven, clearly invalidate a will.

One big reason to invalidate a will is the fact that the will was made under duress. "Duress" simply means forcing somebody to do something they don't want to, using some kind of threat. Typically, the threat involves some type of physical harm. The most obvious example would involve putting a gun to somebody's head and telling them to write a will containing the terms desired by the gunman. Such a will, assuming the underlying facts can be proven in court, will never be valid. Of course, the validity of a will rarely becomes an issue until the testator has died, which may be years after the will was drafted. This means that proving the circumstances under which the will was made can often be very difficult. However, there are certain facts, such as the devise being to an "unnatural" beneficiary (somebody the testator didn't know very well, for instance), and the beneficiary being in a position of power over the decedent, are enough to at least create a suspicion that something is wrong.

Because a testator must know what they are doing in order to write a valid will, the testator must be of sound mind at the time the will is made. Basically, if a person is unaware of what they're doing, and the consequences of their actions, they can't make a valid will. This can be due to mental illness, or intoxication. Of course, if it's a result of intoxication, the testator can simply sober up and then make a perfectly valid will.

There are many other facts that might make a will invalid, and thus serve as grounds to contest a will. If a will is successfully contested in Palm Bay, Florida, and held to be invalid, this typically results in the property being distributed as if the decedent had died intestate (without a will). This means that it will usually go to the decedent's closest living relative.

Can a Palm Bay, Florida Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is never particularly easy or enjoyable. However, a knowledgeable Palm Bay, Florida attorney can help take some of the burden off of you, and handle some of the most difficult aspects of this process.

Talk to a Wills, Trusts and Estates Law Attorney now!

Life in Palm Bay

Palm Bay, Florida is the largest city in Brevard County. Its population is approximately 101,000 as of a 2008 Census estimate.

The earliest European settlers to arrive in the area now known as Palm Bay showed up in 1850, building homes along Turkey Creek. By the late 1800s, there was a lumber mill, a packing house, orange groves, and several other industries in Palm Bay. However, growth was quite slow during that period. This changed in 1894, with the arrival of the railroad in Palm Bay.

Modernly, Palm Bay's economy is largely based around tourism. Because it is right on the Atlantic coast, and enjoys a warm, subtropical climate, it is popular among visitors, as well as people who wish to relocate, particularly retirees.

Palm Bay is also home to the Turkey Creek Sanctuary, a small nature preserve that showcases Florida's natural beauty. It is home to many native wildlife species, turtles, alligators, and dozens of types of birds. It has trails for hiking, bicycling, and jogging. The eponymous creek is an important breeding area for both freshwater and saltwater fish.

If you live in Palm Bay, Florida, and need an attorney, chances are good that you'll be able to find one. There are plenty of Palm Bay, Florida attorneys who can help you with whatever legal issues you may be facing.

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