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Tampa Will Challenge Lawyer

For many estates, a person’s will is the primary legal instrument used to distribute the assets of the estate to the heirs of the deceased. Before an estate can be distributed according to the terms of the will, however, the will must go through a legal process known as probate. As part of the probate process, the court in charge of the estate must determine that the will is valid before it will be given effect. There are many ways to challenge a will during probate, and a successful challenge will render the will invalid or otherwise unenforceable. See below for a discussion on how a will can be challenged in Florida. If you are an heir to the estate intent on challenging the will, or if you are the personal representative or other interested party with a stake in the estate, contact Messina Law Group to review your rights and explore your options with our skilled and knowledgeable Tampa Will challenge lawyer.

Reasons to Challenge a Will in Florida

A will must meet several requirements and follow several formalities to be considered valid in Florida. If any of these requirements are missing, the will could be successfully challenged in the Probate Court. Here are some of the main reasons a will might be challenged.

Lack of Capacity

In Florida, any person who is of sound mind and is either 18 years old or older or an emancipated minor may make a will. Proving that a person lacked the capacity to make a will due to being underage or of unsound mind will render the will invalid. For instance, the person challenging the will might try to prove that the testator (the person who made the will) had Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or some other mental incapacity at the time they made or amended the will.

Lack of Formalities

Florida’s statute of wills requires many formalities that must be followed to create a valid will. These include the signing of the will by the testator in the presence of witnesses who also sign the will. This process is not always as straightforward as it sounds, however. For instance, the law also provides a means for another person to sign the will on the testator’s behalf, and the rules regarding what official act must be witnessed and how can be intricate and convoluted. Nevertheless, following these formalities is necessary to ensure the will being presented in probate is the testator’s valid will, and proving that the proper formalities were not followed can doom a will.


If the testator was induced to make or change a will based on intentional misrepresentations made by another, the will could be declared invalid due to fraud. For instance, if one heir makes up lies about another heir to get them removed from the will or treated unfavorably, this could be an example of fraud that could form the basis for a successful challenge to the will.

Undue Influence

Even without outright fraud, if a person exerted undue influence on the testator or pressured them under duress to make certain changes to their will, this fact can lead the Probate Court to set aside the will as invalid. Charges of undue influence typically arise when a testator made changes to the will favoring a family member or caretaker who was especially close to the testator in their declining years. Proving undue influence did or did not occur can be a complicated and challenging endeavor requiring the assistance of a skilled and knowledgeable probate attorney.

Timeline for Will Challenges in Florida

A person wishing to issue a will contest in Florida must act quickly; the law only allows 90 days from the time notice of administration has been delivered to the personal representative to initiate a challenge. In some cases, the allotted timeframe may even be shorter. It’s important to contact an attorney right away if considering a will challenge to protect your ability to make that challenge in a timely manner.

Contact Messina Law Group for Help With Will Challenges in Tampa

If you are challenging a will, opposing the challenge, or are otherwise involved in a will contest, call our Tampa Will challenge lawyer at Messina Law Group for practical advice and professional representation to protect your rights and interests.

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