Will a no-contest clause prevent an estate challenge in Florida?

| Sep 19, 2020 | Wills & Trusts

Sometimes, when someone dies, their family discovers that there is something amiss with their estate plan or last will. Maybe they disinherited all of their direct family members in favor of the paid medical assistant who lived with them in their last month. Perhaps they left very little to their children in favor of a younger spouse they married in their later years who served as a caregiver. 

When your family suspects fraud, undue influence or diminished capacity might have resulted in changes to an estate plan, challenging the last will in court is often the best solution. Unfortunately, some people include no-contest clauses in their last will that can theoretically disinherit any individual who brings a challenge against their will. 

A no-contest clause could mean risking your inheritance to uphold your loved one’s true intentions. Do you have to worry about such a clause if the estate will go through the Florida probate courts?

Florida is one of the few states that doesn’t uphold no-contest clauses

Most states will uphold no-contest clauses in at least a few circumstances. Some states require probable cause or good faith on the part of the party bringing the challenge, while other states will enforce such clauses without consideration to the grounds for the challenge. 

In Florida, the courts take the opposite approach. They will not uphold a no-contest clause regardless of the intentions of the testator or the nature of the challenge. That means that when your family suspects undue influence, fraud or other issues, you have every legal right to bring a challenge without the risk of it affecting your inheritance.

If you have questions about the legalities of a will, talk to an experienced advocate as soon as possible.