Society needs a way to wrap up the affairs of people who pass away; some way to ensure that debts are paid, that the property of the deceased is passed on to the living, that both of these things occur with as little conflict and controversy as possible, and that they occur in accord with the wishes of the deceased. Probate is the device through which the law provides the following: a personal representative of the estate responsible for wrapping matters up, a neutral official to oversee the process, and a forum where creditors, relatives, and claimants of all types can bring their claims.
The process works well in most cases, but not all. Disputes are most common when the terms of the will aren’t clear, and when the deceased’s relatives or other beneficiaries are truly unhappy with their treatment under the will. The latter is especially likely when:
Serious disputes can quickly turn what is designed to be a simple process into a bitter, lengthy, and expensive legal battle. They not only delay the estate’s final settlement, but can create or deepen existing divisions among the deceased’s family. When disputes over a family member’s will, a West Palm Beach probate attorney with extensive knowledge of Florida’s many laws can help you through the process.
The deceased’s will is the foundation of the probate proceeding. The most fundamental attack on it is the claim that it simply is not valid under the state’s laws. These challenges tend to be vigorously resisted by beneficiaries who fare better under the will than they would if there was no will.
There are many different grounds for contesting the will’s validity. Some are more complicated than others, and the type of evidence needed to resolve the dispute varies considerably.