Contested Wills in Sarasota, Florida

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Sarasota, FL

In Sarasota, 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 Sarasota, Florida?

Courts in Sarasota, Florida will not let a person contest a will unless they have an excellent reason. There are, however, some allegations which will always invalidate a will, if they are proven.

To be valid, a will must be a product of the testator's own free will. So, a will that the testator was forced or tricked into making is not valid, if the probate court finds out about the duress or trickery. Of course, wills are normally made many years before a person dies, so how can a person expect to prove duress or fraud if they suspect it? To begin with, it's not easy. It is possible, however. First of all, it's good to have as much documentation of the testator's affairs as possible. Any written statements concerning their desires on this matter will also be very useful, if there are any. Additionally, if the suspect gift is totally out of left field (property is left to someone that you know the testator didn't like, or barely knew, for instance), this might also support your position that the will was invalid. Of course, the testator can leave his or her money to whomever they want, so these facts, by themselves, will not be enough to prove fraud or duress.

A will can also be rejected because the decedent was not mentally competent to draft it at the it was made. A court will look at the person's mental capacity at the time the will was made, so even if the testator is now perfectly sane, if he or she was incapacitated for whatever reason (by way of intoxication, for example) at the time the will was made, the will can still be invalidated.

If a Sarasota, Florida will is successfully challenged and therefore invalidated, there has to be some system for orderly distribution of the decedent's property. Typically, if a will is held invalid, all of the property will be treated as if the decedent had never written or will. This means that it goes to the decedent's closest living relative, or, if there are not relatives who can be located, the state.

Can a Sarasota, Florida Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because this can involve complicated legal issues, and be very emotionally draining, this is not something you want to go at alone. A knowledgeable lawyer in Sarasota, Florida can be very helpful in making sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible.

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

Life in Sarasota

Sarasota, Florida is the county seat of Sarasota County, located on the central Gulf Coast. It has a population of about 53,000 people.

Humans first settled Florida, including the Sarasota area, about 15,000 years ago - not very long after their initial arrival on North America. At that time, sea levels were much lower, and Sarasota would have been about 100 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, rather than right on the coast. Europeans first settled the area in the 1600s.

Modernly, Sarasota has been hit hard by the crash of the U.S. housing market. However, it is still regularly visited by tourists, and tourism remains a major sector of its economy. Sarasota is also home to many sites of historic interest, from prehistoric archeological sites, to Civil War forts.

The architectural style prevalent in Sarasota was once so popular that it is now an established architectural style, known as the "Sarasota School" or "Sarasota Modern."

If you live in Sarasota, Florida, and are looking for an attorney, you're in luck. There are many lawyers in Sarasota, Florida who practice many different areas of law. If you need legal advice, a Sarasota, Florida lawyer is the person you should call.

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