Contested Wills and Trusts

Disagreements can arise among the families of deceased individuals over who should inherit which assets, or who should be in charge of the estate or the administration of the trust. When families are designated as administrators of an estate, disputes over the compensation for the administrator are also common. Family members may disagree with the interpretation of a will or trust, may question the terms within the document itself, or may even claim undue influence in the creation of the document. These disputes require representation to resolve the legal dispute, which may be successfully managed through mediation or litigation. Similar disputes can arise from claims from creditors, issues with jointly held assets, and homestead litigation.


Guardianship is a court proceeding to appoint an individual to assist those who are no longer able to manage their assets, make living arrangements or make medical decisions. Guardianship is necessary when someone becomes incapacitated without a Durable Power of Attorney in place. Guardianship can be a time consuming and expensive process, and must follow strict statutory and procedural requirements. Through the Guardianship process, the ill person is declared legally incapacitated, and loses the right to exercise some civil rights for themselves.

The guardianship process can be unavoidable when the ill person refuses to allow a designated person, even those designated in a Durable Power of Attorney, to help them. Families or loved ones may ask the court to appoint a legal guardian for the ill person. In these instances, an attorney can help facilitate the Guardianship process.

Guardianship of minors, and Guardianship of individuals with developmental disabilities follow alternative processes for establishing Guardianship in Florida. As minors with developmental disabilities become adults, several areas should be considered together as a whole to determine the proper course of action. These include topics like Guardianship protections and options regarding Social Security, as well as any injury settlement or inheritance received by a minor.

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