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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13184
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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What steps do I follow if I think my brothers will was

Customer Question

what steps do I follow if I think my brothers will was obtained by fraud?
JA: Because consumer protection law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Florida
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: First it is an online will and everything was left to a so called care giver and does not look like his signature
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: and myself and other siblings think it was signed under duress
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed Florida lawyer.

You would need a Florida probate lawyer to file a petition contesting the will in such a case. There are numerous grounds upon which a will can be disputed. In this case, it sounds like a lawyer may wish to argue lack of capacity and/or duress.

  • Lack of Capacity. Under Florida law, a testator (a person who signs a will) is required to have mental competency to make a will and to understand the nature of his or her assets and the people to whom the assets are going to be distributed. A will can be declared void if lack of capacity can be proven. Typically, incompetence is established through a prior medical diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or psychosis, or through the testimony of witnesses as to the irrational conduct of the deceased around the time the will was executed.
  • Undue Influence. Undue influence occurs when the testator is compelled or coerced to execute a will as a result of improper pressure exerted on him or her, typically by a relative, friend, trusted advisor, or health care worker. In many cases, the undue influencer will upset a long established estate plan where the bulk of the estate was to pass to the direct descendants or other close relatives of the decedent. Some undue influencers are new friends or acquaintances of the decedent who “befriend” the decedent in the last months or years of life, typically after the decedent has suffered some decline in mental ability. In other situations, one child of the decedent, often a caregiver will coerce the decedent to write the other children out of the will. Undue influencers can also be health care workers or live in aides who implicitly or explicitly threaten to withhold care unless the estate plan is changed in favor of the health care worker. The Estate of Carpenter is the seminal undue influence case for Florida will contest litigation.

The time for contesting a will in Florida is short, typically 90 days after the Notice of Administration has been provided by the Personal Representative, or 20 days in the event that Formal Notice of the probate proceeding is received before the will has been admitted to probate. Therefore, you must not hesitate to act, or you may find yourself barred from bringing suit.

You may wish to call the Florida Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at 1***-***-**** for help in locating a lawyer in your area who can be of assistance. They can give you a 30 minute consultation for $25 by calling the lawyer referral line.

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Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 8 months ago.

Was there anything I could clarify for you or additional information you needed about this matter? I'm here to help!

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