When someone dies in California, their will is read and executed according to their wishes. However, there are times when people feel that the will wasn’t properly executed or that it doesn’t represent the deceased’s intent. If you feel like you were unfairly treated or believe the will is invalid, here are the grounds you could use to contest it.
The testator wasn’t in a good mental condition
California law assumes that anyone who writes a will is in a sufficient testamentary capacity to outline how their assets should be distributed to their loved ones. If you believe that the deceased wasn’t in a good mental condition when writing the will, you can contest it through probate litigation. You will need paperwork or testimony from medical professionals who treated or handled the testator to prove incapacity. Additionally, you must show the correlation between their mental incapacity and their ability to spell out what they want.
Trust fraud or forgery
There are times when the executor of a will can present a document different from what the testator actually wrote. When this is the case, the culprit might trace or photocopy the testator’s signature, provide invalid witness or add guidelines in the will that are different from what the deceased wanted. You will need a professional who is knowledgeable about will forgery to prove this.
Someone coerced the deceased while writing the will
You can contest a will in California on undue influence grounds. This means that the testator was blackmailed or pressured to write their will the way they did. You must also prove that if this wasn’t the case, the testator would have come up with something totally different.
If you have any concerns about the validity of a will, you should raise them during the probate process. Keep in mind that you have 120 days from the date of probate opening to contest the will.