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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13643
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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My father died in 2014, leaving behind 275,000 in life ins

Customer Question

My father died in 2014, leaving behind 275,000 in life ins and the family had an estate sale to bring in even more money! My father was on hospice before he died and had lung and possibly brain cancer ( he stayed medicated ). They talked him into signing a power of attorney to his ex wife. She then got the money and promised all his kids (3) a house. She bought a house for herself, his current wife and my brother. She bought a second house for her daughter. The money is gone and now my 20 year old sister and I have nothing from our father!! Is it possible to contest his will??
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. So I can better assist you, I need a little more information first.

Who was the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the life insurance? Were you and/or your supposed to inherit anything from your father's Last Will and Testament? Do you have a copy? Was a probate ever done? Do you believe that he signed it when he was not competent (e.g., while heavily medicated or while suffering the effects of the tumor)?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
His wife was the beneficiary. No I do not believe I was listed in the will at all. No they wouldn't let anyone see the wi but I'm sure the ex wife still has it. No probate! My father's head was lying on the table when the document was signed. If it would be easier for you to call, please feel free to do so(###) ###-####
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Life insurance passes directly to the named beneficiary, meaning his wife would get everything. Unless there was anything titled solely in his name when he passed, (e.g., cars, bank accounts, real estate), there wouldn't be a need for a probate.

Under Florida law, the custodian of the will (normally the person named as executor, also called a personal representative - though it could also be a family member) -- must deposit the original will, not a copy, in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court within 10 days of receiving information that the person is deceased. The custodian should deposit the will with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where the decedent resided. The custodian must supply the person's date of death or the person's social security number to the Clerk upon deposit of the will, if this information is available. Once filed a will is public record, meaning you could get a copy that way.

If you want to get a court order compelling someone to deposit a will, you have to give that person notice of the hearing and an opportunity to be heard. In the absence of that minimal due process, you order isn’t valid. Therefore, you do have legal remedy if they won't give you a copy in violation of Florida law (the statute, for reference is Section 732.901(2)). That said, let's say you get the will and you are not named, but believe he wanted you to have something, you could sue, but the burden would be on you to prove duress or mental incompetence and what his true intentions were. A will contest is not inexpensive -they easily can run thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in legal fees. Thus, unless your father had a substantial estate, it may not even be worth it, unfortunately.

I'm sorry I do not have better news for you. If you need clarification or additional information, please REPLY and I'll be happy to assist you further. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Nobody did anything like that! She got the money and promised me a house from it! She said he would want it that way. He probably had a million dollars plus in tools that sold at a estate auction 2 weeks after he died. He had at very least 4 cars and 3 trailers in his name, plus the life insurance. I don't want to be greedy here, my father is dead and I want what was promised to me! My husband quit his job and we went up to nc looking at houses. We loaded a haul with all 5 of our kids to make this move!! Then her daughter, not even his child gets a house??
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

The life insurance isn't considered part of the estate - it would go to the named beneficiary, and they are free to do whathever they want with the money, unfortunately, so even a promise that they would buy you a house with some of the proceeds isn't binding (in the absence of say, a signed contract to that effect).

However, if he had 4 cars and 3 trailers solely in his name, those could not have been sold following his death without a probate and someone being appointed as executor of the estate. The power of attorney would cease being valid upon his passing, so that is very troubling.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

If you need further information, please REPLY and I'll be happy to assist you. Otherwise, kindly remember to leave a positive rating (3-5 stars) as that is the only way experts on this site are compensated for their time. A portion of your deposit is not paid to the expert until you leave a positive rating. Thank you.