Daytona Beach Florida Probate Lawyers and Attorneys
The Coleman Law Firm, PLLC
Main Office: 10161 Centurion Parkway N, Suite 310 Jacksonville, FL 32256
Telephone: (866) 510-9099
Daytona Beach Probate Litigation Attorneys and Lawyers

Probate Litigation

The Florida probate litigation lawyer and attorney of The Coleman Law Firm, PLLC, represent beneficiaries and personal representatives in Florida probate courts in Daytona Beach,Volusia County, Florida, and the surrounding communities, in dealing with probate litigation matters and trust litigation matters.  If you need an experienced Daytona Beach, Florida probate lawyer to assist you with a will challenge, or any other probate litigation, please call us toll free at 1-866-510-9099.

The Florida probate litigation lawyer and attorney with The Coleman Law Firm  usually represent heirs, beneficiaries, personal representatives or  estate creditors in will contests cases on an hourly rate fee basis.  In some situations we may undertake representation in a case on a contingency fee basis, or some other alternative billing arrangement.

There are two major types of litigation in Florida probate courts, one is a will contest and the other involves estate litigation.

Will Contests

What is a will contest?

A Will contest is a form of litigation challenging the admission of a Last Will and Testament to probate, or seeking to revoke the Florida probate of a Will that is already pending before the Florida probate court, or a claim that there is some impropriety taking place in the administration of the Florida probate estate.

If you need an experienced Florida probate lawyer to assist you with a will contest in Daytona Beach or Volusia County, Florida, please call us toll free at 8-866-510-9099.

A person cannot challenge the validity of a Will in  Florida probate court simply because he or she does not like its provisions, or did not, in their opinion, receive the inheritance they wanted. Challenging the validity of a Will in Florida probate court is not contingent on the elements of "fairness" or the reasonableness of its provisions or on the timing of distributions from the probate estate (such as if you prefer an immediate distribution, but the Will provides for you to receive your distribution in multiple distributions at several year intervals).

What is standing in a will contest?

A Will is likely to be attacked in Florida probate court on the basis that the person who signed the Will 
lacked mental capacity (senile, dementia, delusional, unsound mind) at the time the documents were created, that the Willmaker was subjected to fraud, coercion or undue influence during its creation and implementation, that there are ambiguities in the document, or the Will is a forgery or does not conform to the legal requirements of Florida probate law, such as the manner in which it was signed, or the number and nature of the witnesses.

If the Will is invalidated by the Florida probate court, the probate court may disallow only that part of the Will that was challenged or it could invalidate the entire Will.  The assets of the probate estate might in that case be distributed as if the person died without a Will ( intestacy), or pursuant to the distribution provisions of a prior Will, depending on the specific facts and circumstances.

When someone files an objection in the Florida probate court to the Will being probated, or produces a different Will, what is known as a "Will contest" has begun. Will contests are not rare.  Even though few people are successful challenging a will in
Florida probate court, such contests can be extraordinarily costly and create substantial delays in the completion of the probate of the estate.

You can not legally contest a Will in
Florida probate court just because you think the results provided by the will are not fair or are unreasonable. For example, if you feel your recently deceased next door neighbor's out of state children are awful people who didn't give her proper respect and they do not deserve to receive any assets from her probate estate, that will not provide a sufficient basis to challenge her will. To have the right to contest a Will in Florida probate court a person must have legally recognized "standing" to object.

A person must have legal “standing” to contest a Will in
Florida probate court.  A child who was disinherited by the Will of an angry parent, or perhaps by a kindly parent who felt that the local charity rather than his children would benefit more from his assets, would have legal standing to initiate a "Will contest". Or, should a Will give one sibling a disproportionately large share of a parent's probate estate and the other child, or children, a disproportionately small share, the ones receiving less than their proportionate share have standing to challenge the will in Florida probate court. Another example would be if a later Will is less favorable to a beneficiary than an earlier Will, or no Will at all, then that person has legal standing to challenge the later Will. 

The filing of a Will contest sometimes is directed at removing the personal representative (executor) appointed by the Will or the Florida probate court, in an effort to have a different person or trust company serve as Personal Representative for the probate estate, or as a trustee of Trusts created by the Will.

Most of the challenges to invalidate a Will are filed by potential heirs or beneficiaries who were entitled to little or nothing from the terms of the Will that is being probated. According to Florida probate law, Will challenges must be filed in probate court within a certain amount of time after receiving notice of the death or petition to admit the Will to probate.

If you need the assistance of an experienced probate litigation attorney in the Daytona Beach, Volusia County, Florida area, please call us toll free at 1-866-510-9099.

The most common challenges to a Will include:

(1) the Will was not properly written, signed or witnessed, according to the 
Florida probate law requirements

Lack of Proper Formalities. Proper execution of a will requires that the will be signed by the testator and witnessed by two witnesses, who also sign the will. A will can be contested on the grounds that it was not properly drafted, signed, or witnessed in accordance with the applicable Florida probate law.

(2) the decedent lacked mental capacity at the time the Will was signed;

Lack of Capacity. Under Florida probate law, a testator is required to have mental competency to make a will and to understand the nature of his or her assets and the people to whom the assets are going to be distributed. A will can be declared void if lack of capacity can be proven. Typically, incompetence is established through a prior medical diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or psychosis, or through the testimony of witnesses as to the irrational conduct of the deceased around the time the will was executed.

What is capacity or lack of capacity? 

(3) there was fraud, duress or undue influence exercised by someone who had a special relationship with the deceased;

Undue Influence
. Undue influence occurs when the testator is compelled or coerced to execute a will as a result of improper pressure exerted on him or her, typically by a relative, friend, trusted advisor, or health care worker. In many cases, the undue influencer will upset a long established estate plan where the bulk of the estate was to pass to the direct descendants or other close relatives of the decedent. Some undue influencers are new friends or acquaintances of the decedent who “befriend” the decedent in the last months or years of life, typically after the decedent has suffered some decline in mental ability. In other situations, one child of the decedent, often a caregiver, will coerce the decedent to write the other children out of the will. Undue influencers can also be health care workers or live in aides who implicitly or explicitly threaten to withhold care unless the estate plan is changed in favor of the health care worker. 

(4) the Will was a forgery;

(5) breach of fiduciary duty;

Breach of Fiduciary Duty. The personal representative of a probate estate owes the beneficiaries of the estate certain fiduciary duties of honesty, prudence, and loyalty. When those duties are violated by a personal representative, a bequest may be put in jeopardy. The probate lawyers and attorneys of The Florida Probate Lawyer, PLLC can represent beneficiaries and personal representatives with the following issues:

a.         Failure to follow the Florida Probate Code, Rules of Probate Procedure, or an order of the probate court

b.         Probate Fraud

c.         Improper investments

d.         Self dealing

e.         Excessive compensation

When the personal representative’s negligence or probate fraud results in a financial loss to the estate, the probate court can remedy the situation through a monetary award against the personal representative or others involved in the wrongdoing. The Florida probate court can also remove the personal representative if cause can be shown. 

(6)    elective share;

Florida Elective Share.   The Florida elective share provides surviving spouses with a portion of a deceased spouse’s estate according to a detailed formula, based on the probate and non-probate assets of the deceased. If the surviving spouse is displeased with the inheritance created by the estate plan, the surviving spouse can instead take the Florida elective share, if the election is made in a timely manner. Under Florida probate law, the elective share is 30% of the augmented probate estate.

Most surviving spouses can benefit from hiring a Florida probate lawyer to ensure that the Florida elective share is computed properly and distributed according to Florida probate law.

The surviving spouse has 6 months from the receipt of the probate estate's notice of administration to make the Florida elective share election. Once the election is made, the personal representative of the probate estate is required to prepare and file the elective estate inventory, which is filed with the court.

The time for making a will contest in Florida is short, typically 90 days after the Notice of Administration has been provided by the Personal Representative. Therefore, prompt action is required to bring your lost inheritance back to life.

Not just a will can be challenged under these grounds. A trust can be challenged under the same grounds, as well as a real estate deed or a beneficiary designation on a financial account. There are many situations where the undue influencer will trick or persuade a weakened person to sign over valuable real estate, a bank account, or other property directly to the influencer, in the hope that they will have left the scene before the wrongdoing can be discovered. Sometimes, the undue influencer will be added as a beneficiary on bank accounts in place of the heirs to whom the decedent intended the account to pass.

If the wrongdoing is discovered prior to the victim's passing, a common way for a loved one to start to clean up the situation will be to create a Florida guardianship, which will allow the guardian to use the Florida probate court's jurisdiction to reclaim assets that were fraudulently removed. If an estate plan was also changed because of undue influence, the Florida guardianship will also allow evidence to be collected for use at a subsequent will contest proceeding in Florida probate court.

Estate Litigation

Estate litigation arises when a lawsuit is required to be filed on behalf of the decedent or the decedent's probate estate or heirs, when a third party files suit against the probate estate.

If you need an experienced Florida probate lawyer to assist you with estate litigation in Daytona Beach, Volusia County, Florida, please call us toll free at 1-886-510-9099.

Estate litigation may include opening a probate estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for the death of the decedent. Estate litigation can also include situations where the heirs, family members and beneficiaries are not disputing what the decedent did with his or her probate assets through the Will or trust; instead, the estate litigation may be a lawsuit against third parties who may be indebted to the decedent, who violated the terms of a contract with the decedent, or who refused to turn over property belonging to the probate estate.  Typcially, such litigation involves someone other than the heirs and beneficiaries of the probate estate, though heirs or beneficiaries may be involved.

Estate litigation also includes situations where third parties may file suit against the probate estate for debts the decedent owed to the third parties, or if the decedent may have caused injury to another, or breached his contractual duties to another.

This material represents general legal advice. Since the law is continually changing, some provisions may be out of date. It is always best to consult an experienced Florida probate litigation lawyer or attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.

Legal Notice and Disclaimer.  The materials within this website are for informational purposes only.  This information does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon by any individual.  Communication of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.  Internet users and readers should not act upon this information without first seeking professional legal counsel for your particular circumstances.  The information on this website is provided only as general information which may or may not reflect the most current legal information.

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based on advertising alone.  Before you hire us please request more information from us about our qualifications and experience.

Florida Counties and cities in which the probate litigation attorneys and lawyers of The Coleman Law Firm, PLLC offer probate litigation services include Daytona Beach, Ormond  Beach, New Symrna, Deland, and surrounding communities as well as:


Gainesville, Alachua, Hawthorne, High Springs, Waldo, Newberry, Micanopy


Panama City, Panama City, Beach, Lynn Haven, Youngstown 


Macclenny, Glen Saint Mary 


Starke, Brooker, Hampton 


Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island, Titusville, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cape Canaveral, Satellite Beach, Rockledge, Barefoot Bay, Indialantic, Malabar 


Ft. Lauderdale, Davie, Sunrise, Weston, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Hallendale, Plantation, Dania Beach, Coconut Creek, Deerfield Beach, Lauderhill, Lighthouse Point, Margate, Miramar, Oakland Park, Pembroke Pines, Tamarac, Wilton Manors, Hillsboro Beach, Pembroke Park, Cooper City, Port Everglades, Sea Ranch Lakes, Southwest Ranches 




Punta Gorda, Charlotte, Port Charlotte, Palm Island 


Crystal River, Homosassa Springs, Inverness 


Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Keystone Heights, Penny Farms 


Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City, Golden Gate, Immokalee, Palm River Estates, Ochopee


Lake City, Fort White


Arcadia, Brownville, Fort Ogden, Hull, Pine Level, Platt


Cross City, Horseshoe Beach, Old Town


Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach




Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Bunnell, Beverly Beach, Marineland




Quincy, Chattahoochee






Port St. Joe, Wewahitchka


Jasper, White Springs




Clewiston, LaBelle 


Brooksville, Weeki Wachi


Avon Park, Sebring, Lake Placid, Leisure Lakes


Tampa, Plant City, Temple Terrace, Apollo Beach, Brandon, Lutz, Ruskin, Sun City Center, Riverview, Dover, Thonotosassa, Ybor City



Indian River

Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, Fellsmere, Sebastian








Altoona, Clermont, Eustis, Fruitland Park, Lady lake, Leesburg, Minneola, Mount Dora, Tavares, Umatilla

Lee County

Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Boca Grande, Estero, San Carlos Park, Lehigh Acres, Waterway Estates




Bronson, Cedar Key, Chiefland, Williston, Yankeetown






Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Palmetto, Myakka City


Ocala, Leesburg, Belleview, Citra, Dunnellon, Salt Springs, Weirsdale


Stuart, Sewall’s Point, Hobe Sound, Jensen Beach, Jupiter Island, Ocean Breeze Park, Palm City


Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami, Kendall, Homestead, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Miami Beach, Hialeah, Miami Shores, Miami Lakes, Aventura, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, Hialeah Gardens, Key Biscayne, Pinecrest, Surfside, Cutler Bay, Doral, Golden Beach, Indian Village, Islandia, Medley, Miami Gardens, North Bay Village, Sunny Isles Beach, Sweetwater, Virginia Gardens, Florida City, Goulds, Biscayne Park


Key West, Islamorada, Key Largo, Marathon, Big Pine Key, Key Colony Beach, Sugarloaf Key, Tavernier


Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Hilliard, Yulee, Callahan


Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Cinco Bayou, Destin, Shalimar Valparaiso




Orlando, Lake Buena Vista, Apopka, Edgewood, Maitland, Ocoee, Windemere, Winter Garden, Winter Park, Zellwood


Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Celebration

Palm Beach

Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Greenacres, Highland Beach, Hypoluxo, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Lake Park, Lantana, Ocean Ridge, Palm Beach Gardens, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Pahokee, Tequesta, Riviera Beach, Loxahatchee, Manalapan, Ocean Ridge, Glen Ridge


New Port Richey, Bayonet Point, Gulf Harbors, Dade City, Holiday, Hudson, Land O’Lakes, Odessa, St. Leo, Zephyrhills


St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Dunedin, Gulfport, Largo, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Treasure Island, Belleair, Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach, Seminole, Indian Rocks Beach


Lakeland, Auburndale. Bartow, Eagle Lake, Fort Meade, Haines City, Lake Alfred, Lake Wales, Winter Haven, Frostproof, Polk City, Highland Park, Indian Lake Estates


Palatka, Interlachen

Santa Rosa

Gulf Breeze, Milton


Sarasota, Longboat Key, North Port, Venice


Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Lake Mary, Longwood, Oviedo, Sanford, Winter Springs

St. Johns

St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Nocatee, Crescent City, Melrose, Pomona Park, Welaka

St. Lucie

Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie


Wildwood, Bushnell, The Villages


Live Oak


Perry, Steinhatchee


Lake Butler


Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Deland, Deltona, Edgewater, Holly Hill, Ponce Inlet, Port Orange



DeFuniak Springs, Seaside




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