Rights Of Surviving Spouses And Children

In the aftermath of a loved one's death, there are many questions that many may feel uncomfortable contemplating, let alone discussing with a lawyer. At the same time, it is hard to wonder what legal recourse you have as a spouse or child if your spouse or parent's will left you far less than you expected to receive — or indeed, nothing at all.

Our attorneys approach these situations with tact and discretion, but also with a firm commitment to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding an estate to learn what rights our client may have. With years of experience handling estate litigation in Florida, they excel at devising legal strategies designed to resolve a will or trust dispute in a client's favor.

'What Are My Rights As A Disinherited Child?'

It may not be a reassuring thought, but in fact Florida does allow parents to partially or completely disinherit a child.

Just because a child is largely left out of a will or omitted entirely, however, doesn't mean that the child may not have a claim to take a fair part of an estate. This may be the case where:

  • Another family member, such as the other parent or even a sibling, induced the testator to disinherit a child, for his or her own benefit
  • The testator did not have sufficient mental capacity to draft and execute a valid will

In cases involving minor children, a court may also require an estate to provide for a child who is otherwise omitted from a will. This most commonly occurs with child support orders.

'What Are My Rights As A Spouse?'

Under Florida law, spouses are entitled to what is referred to as an "elective share." This amount represents 30 percent of what is called the "elective estate." Included in the elective estate are many types of property, and once the full value of the estate is determined, the spouse is entitled to take 30 percent of the amount.

We represent spouses to ensure that the elective estate is calculated properly and that they therefore receive the proper elective share. This can be satisfied through the terms of a will and/or the administration of a probate estate.

Our Experienced Florida Attorneys Can Guide You Through Estate Administration And Litigation

Schedule a free consultation by calling 239-344-9430 (877-243-1624 toll free) or email our Fort Myers office directly.