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Tortious interference with a testamentary expectancy

| Feb 23, 2020 | Estate Administration |

Tortious interference with a testamentary expectancy is a cause of action that can be used in trust disputes. According to Justia, it can also be used in probate disputes. Tortious interference with a testamentary expectancy is a cause of action in Florida that requires certain elements. 

The first element is a person bringing the claim believes that they had an expectancy to receive something from a decedent’s trust or will. The next element is that the plaintiff believes the defendant took some action that required the plaintiff or resulted in the plaintiff not receiving the expected inheritance. And finally, as a result of that, the plaintiff was damaged. The damage simply means they did not receive the funds or assets they believe they were entitled to. 

Some common situations pertaining to tortious interference with a testamentary expectancy are on the plaintiff’s side. You are the son of a mother or father who has passed away. Mom or dad had a trust and you believed you were going to receive some inheritance from the trust upon their death. However, after death, you did not receive that inheritance or assets from the trust. You believe that that is because some bad actor took actions to unduly influence your mother or father, or committed a fraud against them that somehow created a trust where you did not receive your expected inheritance. 

From the defendant’s side, let’s say you were a caregiver for an elderly person and you took care of them. You were with them for years and they came to form a very close relationship with you. And upon their death, you learned that they left you a substantial sum. You did not know about it. However, the decedent’s blood relatives, perhaps children or some other family relation, believe that you have tortiously interfered with their inheritance and they bring a lawsuit against you on that basis. You claim complete innocence. So, obviously you would defend that claim.