Who is Able to Dispute a Last Will and Testament in California?
Taking the time to write a clear and concise last will and testament for you or a loved one is essential. This helps leave no uncertainty regarding your possessions and how you will take care of your legacy and family when you are gone. In this blog, we will discuss what a last will and testament is and who can contest one under California law:
What Is A Last Will and Testament?
A last will and testament is a legally binding contract that discusses how a person’s estate will be distributed once they die. It is meant to help take care of friends and family once you are no longer with them.
Who Can Dispute It?
California has laws in place to protect your and your loved one’s last wishes. This means there are not a lot of people who have the power to dispute a last will and testament. The people eligible to contest a will are classified as “interested persons.”
The following “interested persons” are qualified to dispute a last will and testament under California law:
- Children of the deceased
- Spouse of the deceased
- Any beneficiary, devisees, or creditor
- Anyone with evidence of a claim against the deceased’s last will and testament
- Anyone with evidence that they have a claim to the deceased’s property and assets
Even with this selective list of people who can dispute a last will and testament, California law still protects the deceased last wishes by limiting the reasons a will can be contested. There are a few solid arguments to use to dispute a will:
- Influenced - You can contest a will if you believe the deceased had been unduly influenced to favor someone else. If there is evidence that they were taken advantage of by someone benefiting from the will, it could be grounds for revisions.
- Ability to write/understand the will - This is when the testator, the person writing the will, has been unable to understand what needs to go into the will. They have not written something coherent or doled out their property and assets properly.
- Fraud - If you believe you or your loved one’s will has been tampered with or changed, this can lead to grounds for a dispute.