California Will contests and probate litigation requires an in depth knowledge of both the California probate code as well a firm grasp of the California Rules of Civil Procedure. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jack B. Friedell successfully navigate the various nuances of the probate code and code of civil procedure. It is this wealth of knowledge and experience that makes the decided difference for our clients. Our litigation experience allows us to advocate our client’s rights in court and our experience with Trusts, Wills, Probate and Trust Administrations allow us to protect our client’s outside of court.
California Will Contest
In order to contest a will in California you must have standing and you must present a valid legal reason for the contest.
To determine standing in a will contest it must be shown that you have a financial stake in the outcome of the contest. Examples of people who have standing to challenge a will are people named in the will, people who are named in an older will, or people who would have benefited had the decedent died intestate (i.e. had no will).
Valid Legal Reason
Contested wills in California need a valid legal reason for the contest. One reason to contest a will is that the will is not valid because of lack of due execution. In order for a will to be valid it is required that attested wills be signed by the testator and witnessed by two disinterested witnesses or that the will is a holographic will (i.e. handwritten by the testator).
Additional valid legal reasons for a will contest include undue influence, lack of capacity, duress, menace, revocation, forgery, misrepresentation, fraud and mistake.
Undue influence occurs when someone close to the testator used their position to influence the testator to include them in the will. An example would be a caretaker that the decedent was dependent upon who receives all or a large part of the estate to the detriment of someone who would normally receive, such as a spouse or child.
Lack of capacity requires evidence that the testator lacked the soundness of mind to understand what they were doing.
Duress has to do with the testator being unlawfully confined or detained when creating the will.
Menace deals with threats to the testator that lead to them creating the will.
Revocation comes into play if it can be shown that the testator revoked the will that is being probated.
Objection to Probate of the Will
If you can show standing and you have a valid legal reason for the contest then you will need to file an objection to probate of the will with the court. CPC §8250
Do you have a legitimate case for the contest of a will in California? The attorney’s at the Law Offices of Jack B. Friedell are zealous for our clients and will represent you to the full extent of the law. If you desire a California will contest, then contact us today.
To consult with an experienced California Will Contest attorney who can advise you on the contest of a will in California, contact the Law Offices of Jack B. Friedell today.