Probate Litigation Attorney

A loved one died. And now, you’re stuck in a legal dispute while you should be grieving.


This situation is all too familiar to so many Florida families. And it doesn’t have to be this way.

Probate litigation, which involves the legal resolution of these disputes, may be unavoidable in some cases. But the stress is avoidable — if you have the right attorney by your side.


If you find yourself in the middle of a situation like this or are concerned about potential issues, Florida probate litigation attorney William C. Roof is here to help. Continue reading to learn more about probate litigation and how it might impact you.

Types of Probate Litigation in Florida

The probate process in Florida covers a broad spectrum of legal disputes. Some of the most common types include:

Will and Trust Contests

These are formal objections to the validity of a will or trust. Common reasons for such contests include allegations of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, or improper execution according to Florida law.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

This arises when someone appointed to manage an estate fails in their duties, leading to mismanagement or wastage of assets. Remedies can range from the removal of the fiduciary to legal action to recover assets.

Will and Trust Construction

When the terms of a will or trust are ambiguous, the court may need to intervene to clarify the decedent’s intentions.

Elective Share Litigation

In Florida, a surviving spouse has a right to a portion of the deceased spouse’s assets, known as the elective share. Disputes can arise when this share is withheld or contested.

Determination of Heirs

In cases where no will exists, or the decedent had limited family contact, the court may need to determine the rightful heirs to the estate.

Accounting Disputes

Beneficiaries have the right to an accounting of estate assets. Disputes can arise when accounting is not provided or appears objectionable.

Grounds for Probate Litigation

Below, we walk you through some of the primary reasons why probate litigation may be initiated in Florida.

Whether you’re questioning the validity of a will or suspect undue influence, these grounds form the basis for many probate contests. Let’s explore them in more detail:

Mistake in Execution

A will must meet certain criteria to be considered valid under Florida law. If any provision is not met, it could lead to disputes.

For instance, in Florida, a will must be signed by the testator (the person making the will) in the presence of two witnesses, and these witnesses must also sign the will.

If a testator drafts their will and only has one witness sign the document, this is a mistake in execution. Despite the testator’s intentions being clear in the document, the will may be deemed invalid due to this procedural error.

Undue Influence

What happens when someone creating a will may have been coerced or influenced by someone in a position of trust? You might wind up with a probate litigation matter on your hands.

For example, consider an elderly woman, Elizabeth, who is dependent on her caregiver, John. Over time, John constantly suggests to Elizabeth that she should leave her entire estate to him instead of her children, playing on her fears of being left alone or not receiving care.

If Elizabeth changes her will under this pressure, favoring John over her children, it may be able to be contested as a product of undue influence.

Lack of Testamentary Capacity

For a will to be valid, its creator must have the mental capacity to understand the implications of the document at the time of its execution. If they don’t have that capacity, probate litigation may result.

For instance, consider Edward, an elderly man suffering from advanced dementia. If during a particularly confused period he suddenly drafts a new will leaving all his assets to a distant relative he hasn’t spoken to in years — while excluding his close family — you may be able to argue that he lacked the testamentary capacity to fully comprehend the decisions he was making in the will.

As a result, you might contest the will on the grounds that Edward did not understand the nature of his decisions when he made them.

Parties Involved in a Probate Litigation Case

bate litigation can involve a wide range of individuals. Here are some of the most commonly involved parties in Florida:


  • The decedent’s spouse.
  • Family members or friends who believe they were disinherited wrongfully.
  • The personal representative in charge of the estate’s distribution.
  • Any beneficiary who disputes the claims of other beneficiaries.

Any change in the distribution of assets could potentially affect the claims of other beneficiaries, potentially calling for the involvement of a probate litigation attorney in Florida.

How a Probate Litigation Attorney Can Help You

Probate litigation can be daunting. That’s doubly true during times of grief and family tension.

But a trusted Florida probate litigation attorney can ease your concerns and stress. Here’s how an attorney like William C. Roof can help you:


  • Knowledge of Florida probate laws. Probate laws are complicated. A probate attorney will be well-versed in the specifics of Florida probate law, ensuring that your case is handled the right way.


  • Representation in court. If your probate case escalates to litigation, having a seasoned attorney by your side ensures that your rights and interests are fearlessly represented in court.


  • Mediation and conflict resolution. Before matters reach the courtroom, a probate attorney can mediate between disputing parties, aiming to resolve issues amicably and potentially saving time, money, and emotional distress.


  • Guidance on legal grounds. Not all disagreements have legal standing. In fact, many don’t. An attorney can advise you on whether you have valid grounds for litigation, such as undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, or mistakes in the execution of the will.

  • Protection against fradulent claims. Sadly, some people may try to exploit the probate process for personal gain. It happens all the time. But an attorney can help identify and counter any suspicious or fraudulent claims against the estate.


  • Timely and efficient probate process. Delays in the probate process can be costly and emotionally draining, to say the least. But with a probate litigation attorney handling the proceedings, you have a better shot at getting through this as quickly as possible.


  • Peace of mind. Knowing that a professional is managing the complexities of your probate litigation case provides a lot of relief during an already stressful period.

Probate Litigation FAQs

It’s hard to think of any legal situation that sparks more questions than probate litigation — especially in Florida’s complex probate ecosystem. To help, we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions below. But if you don’t see your question here or want a uniquely tailored answer for your case, reach out to William C. Roof as soon as possible.

Who Can File Probate Litigation in Florida?

Any party with a vested interest in the decedent’s estate, such as beneficiaries, heirs, or personal representatives, can file probate litigation.

What Is Probate Litigation?

Probate litigation is a legal process that addresses disputes arising during the probate process, including the validity of wills, breaches of fiduciary duty, and asset distribution.

Are There Other Types of Probate Litigation?

Yes, probate litigation can also encompass issues like asset re-titling, wrongful transfers, and cases where estate assets have been depleted or misappropriated.

Do I Need an Attorney for Probate Litigation?

While it’s not mandatory, having an attorney can provide key guidance, ensuring that your rights are protected and the probate process adheres to the specifics of Florida law.

Reach Out to a Florida Probate Litigation Attorney

Probate litigation can involve a myriad of legal complexities. And mistakes and oversights here can lead to big problems.


Ensuring that a deceased loved one’s wishes are honored and assets are distributed fairly and legally is the right thing to do. But if you’re facing challenges in the probate process or foresee potential disputes, you may struggle to do it.


The good news? Help is available. Contact Florida probate litigation lawyer William C. Roof today for the guidance and representation you need.



The contents of this article are not comprehensive, they provide only a general overview of the subject matter discussed. This article does not establish a client-attorney relationship with the reader, and no legal decisions should be made based on the article’s contents. Because every legal matter arises under unique facts specific to the client, no legal decision should be made without consulting a licensed attorney.

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