Wealthy individuals in Florida should realize that they will likely need a will to make sure that their estate is divided up according to their desires. Without a straightforward will, loved ones who believe themselves to be heirs can begin fighting over portions of an estate that they think belongs to them and no one else, as is the case in the ongoing saga of a 104-year-old mining heiress who passed away earlier this year, and who we wrote about last week.

The will for the woman's $400-million estate have caused a serious rift between members of her family. The copper heiress died in May and left a hefty portion of her estate to her nurse. Now a court battle is erupting between the nurse and 19 great-nieces and great-nephews of the deceased woman who believe they have a right to some of the estate proceedings that have been court-ordered.

In the most recently signed will from 2005, the woman notes that she had minimal contact with her 19 great-nieces and great-nephews over the years. As was noted last week, it was discovered the woman had signed two wills in 2005, one leaving most of the fortune to the relatives and the other leaving money to the nurse and charity. The relatives were recently successful in forcing an executor of the estate to resign.

The nurse -- born in the Philippines -- spent the last two decades tending to the wealthy woman's needs. The nurse discovered that she was designated as the recipient of approximately $34 million in the woman's will. Over the years, the nurse and mother of three had been given a 2001 Bentley, five homes and a $5 million bonus by her wealthy patient.

Source: New York Post, "Battle of wills starting," Laura Italiano, Dec. 23, 2011