Under California law, probate is the process in which a deceased person's estate is legally transferred to heirs or beneficiaries. If the person left a will, a probate court determines if the will meets all the formal requirements and is valid, and an executor is in charge of settling affairs and distributing the estate. Without a will, the court appoints an administrator to track down heirs, settle affairs and distribute any remaining assets.
Lack of testamentary capacity is one possible reason to contest a loved one’s will. Typically, this ground is considered when a recently deceased loved one had senility, dementia, insanity or was under the influence of a substance. However, many people do not fully understand the requirements for someone to lack testamentary capacity.
As people grow older, they become vulnerable in many ways. Even if they show no obvious, outward signs of illness or serious decline, they may be suffering from physical and mental decline. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who seek to take advantage of such vulnerable adults, and their misdeeds may go undiscovered until after the elder person has passed away.
Sifting through the details of an estate after a loved one dies can be a difficult and stressful task. While these situations can sometimes be completed without any friction between the parties involved, disputes can easily break out because of the emotional nature of the process. If this happens, it's important to have the right kind of representation on your side.
Wouldn't it be great if every process in life was quick and easy? While some things are, it's also very true that some processes can be lengthy and can try a person's patience. For those in the probate process, it can be a rude awakening when the process of transferring a person's property after death isn't as quick or easy as a person initially may have thought. There are ways to avoid aspects of the probate process in hopes of a speedier and less stressful resolution.