A Personalized Legal Approach
A will is usually supposed to be a crucial document that is legally binding, designed to benefit friends and family members of a loved one after they have passed. Normally, a will organizes and dictates how that person's estate, property, and all their assets will be distributed in a way that helps surviving members who were close to the departed, often providing for their financial needs as they struggle emotionally.
Although this is the normal process of enacting a will, there are unfortunately times when the will must be contested, perhaps because it was improperly validated, or because the circumstances surrounding the signature were incorrect for the situation. Fortunately, our knowledgeable Laguna Woods will contest attorney can help with this. Trust Giammichele Law, APC to support you in properly distributing your loved one's assets and property.
Who Can Contest Wills in California?
In order to protect the desires and rights of both the deceased and connected beneficiaries, there are only certain people who are allowed to contest the terms of a will. In the state of California, these “interested persons” include the children or spouse of the deceased. Any beneficiaries or devisees and creditors may contest, but so can a person who can prove that they have a right to the decedent's property, or evidence of a claim to make against the terms of the deceased person's will.
The Grounds That a Will Can Be Contested
Not only does California limit the people who can contest wills, but the state laws restrict the reasons for contesting the document. Simply disliking the proportions or terms of the testator's will is not enough.
Instead, a will can only be contested on certain crucial grounds, including:
- Failure to have proper execution procedures – If a will has not been signed by the testator before two witnesses, then there is a possibility it could have been changed, forged, or improperly conducted.
- Inability to understand or write the will – This grounds is also known as “lack of testamentary capacity,” and occurs when the testator does not know what they are doing in writing the will. This could be due to mental disability or illness, but in either case, the testator is unaware or incapable of properly dispersing property or designating it appropriately amongst descendants.
- Undue influence – Tragically, there are those who attempt to take nefarious advantage over those who are elderly or sick, influencing them to change a will to benefit themselves instead of the person's own family members and other loved ones.
Seeking Knowledgeable Counsel
While it is unusual to contest a will, there are sometimes very valid reasons for doing so, particularly if it seems the terms within the document are unlikely to match with the testator's actual desires and intentions. If the will seems to have been produced with deeper implicit meanings, or otherwise does not correlate with the person you have known and loved for many years, you can greatly benefit from receiving skilled counsel from our Laguna Woods will contest lawyer.