About Fraudulent Wills
Unfortunately, far too often, dishonest caregivers, advisors, friends and even family members use lies and misrepresentations to trick a sick or elderly individual into changing the terms of a will so that they can receive significant benefits such as a greater share of the estate. When a will is procured in this manner, the will is based on fraud and any interested person may file a legal action to challenge the will. These types of lawsuits are known as “will contests.”
In a will contest case, if the court finds that fraud occurred, the entire will, or the portion of the will that resulted from fraud, may be declared invalid. If the entire will is found to be invalid, the decedent’s estate will generally be distributed according to the terms of the decedent’s earlier will. If no such will exists, or if the previous will is invalid, the decedent’s assets will be distributed to his or her heirs as prescribed by Florida’s intestate succession laws.
Litigating Challenging Fraudulent Will Claims
Every will contest case is different and the outcome will depend upon the specific facts of the case. Fraudulent will cases are very challenging to prove and should be handled by an experienced Fort Myers fraudulent will lawyer. The attorneys at SW Florida Probate Trial Lawyers are highly skilled trial attorneys who represent clients throughout Southwest Florida in significant will contest cases. Collectively, our lawyers have hundreds of years of experience litigating and trying complex civil cases. We know how to analyze, prepare and present a fraudulent will case to a judge or jury and appreciate that these cases can be very emotional, as well as expensive.
Under Florida law, you will not be penalized if you contest a will on the grounds of fraud and your challenge is unsuccessful. Section 732.517 of Florida Probate Code provides that any provision in a will that purports to penalize a beneficiary who contests a will is unenforceable. This means that even if the will includes a penalty clause, the clause cannot be enforced and you will not forfeit any of your rights under the will should you lose your will contest case.
Do Not Delay
In Florida, there are very strict timelines for filing a lawsuit to challenge a will. If you believe that a will was procured through fraud, you must act quickly in order to protect your rights and recover your inheritance. You do not have to wait until a will is admitted to probate in order to file a legal claim. The time for filing a will contest claim in Florida is short, so you cannot afford to delay. An experienced Naples will lawyer can thoroughly review your situation to determine the best course of action to take in your case.
At SW Florida Probate Trial Lawyers our attorneys are committed to working with you to uncover the truth so that the wishes and intentions of your loved ones can be properly honored. We are a small team of aggressive advocates who will fight for your rights and interests every step of the way. Our firm knows that you are counting on us to guide you through a difficult situation and we take this responsibility very seriously.
If you believe a will may have been procured through fraud, contact the experienced trial attorneys at SW Florida Probate Trial Lawyers today. Our firm represents clients throughout the Southwest Florida region involved in complex probate, trust and estate related litigation.