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Florida Will Contests: Penalty Clauses and Qualified Renunciations

April 15, 2024

The Renunciation Rule and Its Implications

The renunciation rule stipulates that if a beneficiary decides to contest a will, they must give up any benefits they might receive from it. This requirement is designed to ensure that challenges to the will are made in good faith and not as a strategy to secure a better inheritance while disputing the validity of the will.

Qualified Renunciation

Florida law, however, allows for what is called a “qualified” renunciation. This means that a beneficiary can contest the will but still retain the right to benefit from it should their challenge fail. This provision protects beneficiaries, allowing them to challenge a will they believe to be incorrect or unjust without risking losing their entire inheritance if the challenge is unsuccessful.

Practical Considerations in Filing a Renunciation

It is also advisable for the renunciation to be clearly stated as conditional upon the outcome of the will contest when included in any legal filings. This practice ensures that the intentions behind contesting the will are understood and legally recognized as contingent on the contest’s result. Beneficiaries are encouraged to use clear and precise language in their renunciations to avoid any legal misunderstandings or complications.

This approach allows beneficiaries the opportunity to contest a will where they perceive legitimate concerns while also upholding the integrity of the testator’s intentions and the equitable distribution of estate assets. Clear guidelines and protections like these are vital in maintaining fairness in the probate process.

If you are considering challenging the validity of a Florida Last Will and Testament or Trust we are here to help.  Our attorneys litigate cases of this type throughout Florida.  Call us for a free no obligation consultation.  – Brice Zoecklein, Esq.