Not everyone can contest a will for any reason. There must be valid, legal grounds for this document to be challenged in court. The following reasons are why a will is often contested in California.
There are different types of will contests during estate litigation. The most obvious type of will to contest is one that lacks a signature according to estate laws. The document is made valid by the signature of the testator or a personal representative. The signature of someone other than the testator must be witnessed by the testator.
Lack of mental competence
The testator who creates and signs the will must be mentally competent and possess a testamentary capacity. This person must approve of the will that is being signed and approve of the beneficiaries who will inherit his or her assets. The testator must understand the full range of consequences of signing a will.
The law specifies how a person should prove that a testator lacks testamentary capacity. In California, a mental health disorder is a red flag that the person is not mentally capable of signing.
Signs of fraud
A will that shows signs of fraud is often created and signed under false pretenses. Common examples are when wills are created without the estate owner’s consent. Fraud also occurs if a testator’s signature is forged or an imposter acts on behalf of the testator.
Making a will work
Individuals with complex estates or many family members are at greater risks of their will being contested. However, state laws set the requirements for a valid will, so individuals who follow these requirements can protect their estate plans.