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Is there a time limit to contest a will?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2023 | Probate |

When a loved one passes away, it is rarely a happy time. And, for most, they pass away without an estate plan. However, for those that do pass with a will, you may find that their will does not say what you thought it would say. Or, you may find that you did not get what you thought you would get. If so, can you contest it, and if so, how long do you have to contest the Florida will?

Florida Statute § 733.212

Florida Statute § 733.212 outlines will contest bases and timelines. Essentially, there are several general bases for contesting a will. First, is fraud or the discovery of a newer will. Next, is the lack of some needed legality, like the required number or witnesses or testamentary capacity, and finally, undue influence.

You cannot contest a will simply because you do not like what it says. In the United States, we have the right to do what we want with our property. This means that, in order to contest a will, you must do so based on one of these legal reasons.

Statutory time limit

In Florida, you have three months to contest a will by statute after the notice of administration is served. If you fail to file within three months, you will be forever barred from contesting the will. Objections to the probate court jurisdiction or to the venue must be filed before the final discharge or one year after the notice of administration, whichever happens first.

However, there could be an estoppel argument that extends this three-month statutory limitation if the executor or personal representative mis-state’s the objection time period in the notice of administration. This is the only valid reason to extend the time.

Objecting to the will

You must object to the will based on a valid reason. This is done by filing a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, petition based on Florida Probate Rules.



Photo of Jennifer D. Sharpe