If a deceased loved one lived in California at the time of his or her death, that person will likely be subject to that state’s probate laws. The same may be true if that person owned property in his or her name in the state. In the event that your parent, grandparent or other family member had a will, you may have the ability to contest its validity in probate court.
Who has standing to contest a will?
As a general rule, only those who were named in the will have the ability to contest it. The same may be true if you were named in an earlier version of the will that is presented to a probate judge. Finally, you may have standing to challenge such a document if you would have been entitled to a portion of that person’s estate if it is declared invalid.
What are some valid grounds for a will contest?
Even if you have standing to contest a will, it doesn’t mean that there are grounds to do so. Typically, you can challenge this type of document on the grounds that the testator wasn’t mentally competent to create or alter a will. In addition, it may be possible to assert that the document was fraudulent or was not structured in accordance with state law.
What to consider before challenging a will
If you are going to challenge a will, it’s important to consider how doing so might impact relationships with other family members. It’s also worth noting that any estate litigation costs are paid for by the estate itself. Therefore, if your claim is successful, you may not receive as much as you might be entitled to.
Contesting a will may be an effective way to obtain assets that you are legally entitled to. However, doing so may also strain relationships with parents, grandparents or others. Therefore, it’s important to consider your options carefully before doing anything that you might not be able to take back.