When You May File an Undue Influence Claim for a Will or Trust
When you believe someone unlawfully influenced your relative to alter their own will or a trust, then you need to speak with an experienced Florida probate attorney about filing an undue influence claim. Proving that one of the decedent’s other family members, friends, or acquaintances used a significant amount of persuasion, coercion, or fraud to ensure the will or a trust benefited them can be challenging. However, Larry E. Bray has decades of experience in litigating such matters.
After scheduling a consultation, Mr. Bray will thoroughly review your situation, including the time limit for filing the undue influence claim in court.
Statute of Limitations for Challenging a Will
If you intend to challenge your loved one’s will during probate based on undue influence, you need to speak with an attorney right away. Florida law gives you 90 days – just 3 months – to contest the will. The clock begins to run when you receive a Notice of Administration. You will receive this if you are the decedent’s spouse, beneficiary, or trustee for a trust.
The purpose of this short time frame is to ensure estates are administered as quickly as possible. The only reason Florida law provides for extending this deadline is if you have evidence of a misstatement made by the personal representative regarding the time period you have to object, and even then, you will have to prove this.
Challenging the Validity of a Trust
If your issue is not with the will, specifically, but instead you believe another person used undue influence to affect a trust, then the statute of limitations may be different. Florida law states that for a trust that was revocable at the time of your loved one’s death, you have either 6 months from the time you receive notice from the trustee that the trust exists to file your action, or the time provided in Chapter 95 of the Florida Statutes, which for certain actions, gives you up to 4 years.
Considering the large disparity between these statutes of limitations, you need to speak with Mr. Bray right away to ensure you do not miss an important deadline.
The Delayed Discovery Rule
In Florida, many statutes of limitations outline when the clock begins to run. It is often when you receive a certain type of notice regarding a legal procedure, which enables you to know that it is time to consider whether you have any challenges to that procedure.
However, there can be exceptions to statutes of limitations. The delayed discovery rule applies to undue influence cases regarding trusts in Florida.
Under the delayed discovery rule, the time limit for any action based on fraud does not begin until you learn the facts that lead to a cause of action or you should have discovered these facts upon exercising due diligence.
Instead of your time limit to bring an undue influence claim against a trust beginning when you receive notice of an irrevocable trust, or when your loved one passes away and their revocable trust becomes irrevocable, the clock does not start until you learn of the information regarding another person’s undue influence over your loved one.
If you did not learn that a loved one’s trust was overly influenced by another person’s actions or claims for a long period of time, call the West Palm Beach Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. at 561-571-8970 to discuss your options.