Generally, people have the right to draft wills that distribute their property after they die in any manner that they deem fit. If a person lacks sound mind or is coerced or otherwise unjustly persuaded into making certain testamentary decisions, though, a will may be deemed invalid, and the courts may refuse to admit it into probate. In a recent Florida opinion, the court discussed the evidence needed to establish that a will is the product of undue influence and is void, in a matter in which the court ultimately found the will was valid. If you recently lost a loved one and would like to object to his or her will or otherwise need assistance with a probate matter, it is advisable to speak to a capable Florida probate attorney to determine your rights and possible courses of action.
Facts of the Case
It is reported that after the testator died in 2017, the defendant, who was her daughter and the personal representative of her estate, filed a formal petition for the administration of the testator’s 2003 will. The will dictated, in part, that the testator’s home in Key West was to be sold and the proceeds distributed among her five children. The plaintiff, one of the testator’s other daughters, was only to receive 4% of the proceeds of the sale, however, and the remaining children were to receive 24% each.
Allegedly, the will also granted a vacant lot to the defendant and ordered that the remainder of the testator’s assets be sold and the proceeds divided among the children, excluding the plaintiff. The plaintiff objected to the administration of the will, arguing that it was the product of the defendant’s undue influence. Two of the other children joined in the objection as well. The trial court found in favor of the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading ›