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Can a Florida Will Be Contested Before Death?

James W. Martin

A question that Florida probate lawyers sometimes hear is, “Can a will be contested before the person dies?” This is usually accompanied by facts suggesting that a mother, father or other family member is the subject of undue influence or has been diagnosed with a medical condition that results in mental incapacity.

The answer to the question is generally that the will of a Florida resident cannot be contested while the person is alive. Florida Statutes Section 732.518 says: “An action to contest the validity of all or part of a will or the revocation of all or part of a will may not be commenced before the death of the testator.”

However, there are other things that a concerned family member might be able to do while the person is alive in order to protect the person and his or her assets and in order to preserve any estate plan that the person has already put into place.

In addition, after a Florida resident dies, there are very short time limits to file a contest to contest the will. The time limit could be as short as three months after the person’s death, but even determining the time limit is a question of law and fact that can be difficult to ascertain.

For these reasons, it is always a good idea to engage a Florida lawyer to provide legal advice regarding when to contest Florida wills.

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