Is There a Time Limit for Someone Challenging a Will in California?

Ideally, you will do everything possible to limit the chances of someone challenging or contesting your will after you pass away. Letters of instruction and advanced conversations with your family members, for example, could help clear up your actual intentions. However, a family member or friend who feels disgruntled by the decisions you’ve made with your estate planning may initiate a will contest.

In order to do this, they must have the standing to take such action. Children or other interested parties in California can challenge a deceased will validity in county probate courts.

These interested parties have a maximum of 120 days after the will has been admitted to submit an appeal. Grounds must be named in order for an interested party to challenge a will. This includes things such as incompetence, the existence of multiple wills, undue influence by a particular party, breaking laws in California or fraud.

A person is not eligible to challenge your California will simply because they have been left out of the estate plan. Legal grounds must exist, and this person must qualify as an interested party. Interested parties include any beneficiaries specified in the trust or will, the deceased’s heirs as recognized under California intestacy laws, and creditors owed money by the deceased.

If youโ€™re concerned about what you can do to create a comprehensive estate plan that makes it more difficult for someone to issue a challenge when your estate enters probate, talk to our Pasadena estate planning attorneys now.

If you have further questions about structuring your own California estate plan, contact our office today to learn more.

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