Five Steps of Wills Challenges in California

What happens if someone who has grounds to contest a will wants to argue in court that the will is invalid for some reason? This requires a very specific process in California law and one that follows five steps.

Whether you’re a current beneficiary or believe you should have been a beneficiary in someone’s will, or are creating your own estate plan, it is helpful to understand grounds and timelines for will challenges in California. Proper estate planning can help to minimize the possibility of a will challenge.

Critical steps are involved whenever someone brings forward a will challenge. It’s strongly recommended that you talk through any steps needed to open a California will challenge with your Pasadena area lawyer.

The first of these is eligibility to challenge since not every person is able to open this legal challenge.

Only interested parties, such as those who would inherit in the absence of a will or current beneficiaries have what is known as grounds to have what is known as standing to contest the will.

The second step is to determine grounds for challenge. The challenger must have legal grounds for contesting the will such as lack of testamentary capacity or undue influence.

The third step is filing an actual will contest. This contest is filed in the probate court and must occur within a specific timeframe after the will has been submitted to the probate court. This is then followed by the litigation process in which evidence is presented and arguments are made in front of a judge.

Finally, a will challenge concludes with a resolution which will be the court’s decision to amend, annul or enforce the will. Working with an estate planning lawyer now can help you to decrease the possibility that someone is eligible to open a will contest in the future. Contact our attorneys to learn more about these planning opportunities. Our Pasadena area office knows how to support individuals, families, and even business owners looking to document their plans.

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