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Florida Probate Blog

Posts Tagged: extrinsic evidence

Latent vs. Patent Ambiguities in Last Will and Testament Construction Cases

Written by on Apr 7, 2009| Posted in: Probate Litigation

Lawyers and probate courts are frequently asked by relatives of a deceased to consider evidence well beyond the four corners of a last will in determining the “true” donative intent of the testator. However, courts, at least in Florida, are generally bound by the language of a person’s last will and testament unless there is some ambiguity warranting the court’s examination of extrinsic evidence. There are two types of ambiguities in the typical last will and testament construction cases: A last will is “patently ambiguous” if it is ambiguous on its face. Patent ambiguities usually result in the probate courts finding that there is no valid will in effect and no extrinsic evidence is permitted. Some courts have held that where there is a patent ambiguity as to the testator’s intent, the probate court may consider extrinsic evidence. Remember extrinsic is evidence that is not within the document (in this […]

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Ambiguity and Extrinsic Evidence in Will Construction

Written by on Feb 17, 2009| Posted in: Probate Litigation

Third District Finds Latent Ambiguity in Will Language and Allows Parol Evidence to Determine Testator’s Intent What type of Proceeding is a Will Contruction Action? Under the Florida Probate Code, as in most other jurisdictions, proceedings to construe a will are adversary proceedings, unless otherwise ordered by the court, in which the moving party must give formal notice to all interested parties. After service of formal notice, the proceedings are to be conducted, as nearly as practicable, similar to suits of a civil nature and are to be governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure.

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