Can You Make Your Will “Contest-Proof”?

Can You Make Your Will “Contest-Proof”?

When making a will, many people want to know how to make it “iron clad” or “contest-proof.” Some states allow no-contest clauses, which provides for the disinheritance of an heir to the estate should they challenge the validity of the decedent’s will. Florida does not.

While no-contest clauses are unenforceable, crafting a will with an experienced attorney helps ensure your property will be distributed appropriately.

Wills can be invalidated in at least three ways:

  • Improper execution: Every state requires certain legal formalities before a will is considered valid. In Florida, the will must be in writing. It also must be signed by the testator, in the presence of two witnesses. If these formalities are not met, a person with standing may contest the will.

  • Undue influence: Undue influence occurs when a person actively procures the testator into writing or changing their will to provide themself a substantial benefit through the testator’s estate. When the a person has overwhelming mental and emotional control over the testator, and benefits as a result, there may be a case to invalidate the will as a result of undue influence.

  • Lack of capacity: Florida case law defines “testamentary capacity” as the ability to mentally understand in a general way (1) the nature and extent of the property to be disposed of, (2) the testator’s relation to those who would naturally claim a substantial benefit from his will, and (3) a general understanding of the practical effect of the will as executed.

Although an attorney is not required to write a Florida will, they can help protect your estate.

For experienced estate planning assistance in Tampa, FL, contact BaumannKangas Estate Law today.