Newport Beach Will Contest Attorney

Newport Beach Will Contest Attorney
Newport Beach Will Contest Attorney

Planning for the security of your loved ones and the distribution of your assets after you pass away is a compassionate and sensible choice, and it follows that most people will craft a will with the help of an estate planning attorney or create a trust that defines their specific wishes with regards to the distribution of assets, whether financial or sentimental. After you are gone, a legally sound and effectively crafted estate plan in Newport Beach, CA can benefit current and future generations.

Because there are myriad options, you are at an advantage when you hire an empathetic, hands-on, and dedicated attorney who can help you understand the type of contracts that will suit your unique needs. This way, your documentation will clearly define your wishes.

Contesting a Will

Sometimes, a beneficiary or other family member realizes that a will needs to be altered, and in this situation and within the state of California, this indicates that a person is choosing to contest the will. Contesting a will in California can be a complex, time-consuming process because provisions within the will may need to be reworded or removed; in other cases, the will itself may need to be completely voided.

Often, an interested party or parties who wish to contest a will may face angry disputes or even litigation from other beneficiaries or family members. If you are an interested party who believes a will is incorrect or invalid, you should work with an estate litigation attorney. Your interests and your rights matter, and a seasoned, knowledgeable, and determined legal team can ensure you are adequately represented regarding your loved one’s will and any aspects of it you need to alter or void.

Do I Need an Estate Lawyer in California to Contest a Will?

At Ross Law Group, APC, you can trust our attorneys to defend your rights when contesting a will. With more than two decades of extensive experience in estate cases that have gone to trial, we can guide you through the process of contesting or voiding a will that you believe has been created in error or misrepresented by an unscrupulous beneficiary. You have many options in this situation, and we will approach your case with compassion, understanding, and hands-on treatment to decrease the amount of stress and emotional upheaval you will no doubt experience in trying to claim justice for your loved one.

It is essential to employ an estate litigation attorney and a legal team who is familiar with the intricacies of California estate law, is prepared to negotiate and resolve conflict in mediation sessions, and will take your case, if necessary, through the process of litigation.

What Is a Will?

A will, or what is often referred to as a person’s “Last Will and Testament,” is a legal document with which a person thoroughly outlines their desires for the outcomes of their financial assets and personal property after their passing. A will offers specific instructions to family members or other beneficiaries to whom you wish to bequeath money, property, business holdings, and items of financial worth or sentimental value. Wills also may list a person’s dependents who will require care in the event of an untimely or sudden death, such as minor children, pets, and senior family members with physical or mental disabilities. A will also appoints an executor and sometimes an alternate executor, who is in charge of ensuring that all the terms of the document are fulfilled as you have specified.

A will is not legal in California unless state specifications are followed exactly. These requirements include a written or typed document which is signed by the person creating the will as well as by two witnesses, and the witnesses must also agree that the person was mentally capable of crafting and signing the will according to their personal wishes. This agreement also indicates that the person who wrote and signed the will was not forced to do so for the purposes of fraud.

Grounds for Contesting a Will in California

In order to legally contest a will in California, you must identify yourself as an interested party — in other words, you are an heir, a creditor, or a beneficiary listed in the will or listed in a previous version of the will that was discarded for any reason. The process officially begins when an interested party files an objection with the probate court; this can occur both before or after the documentation has been sent to the probate court. Legally, all other heirs and beneficiaries listed in the will must be notified that it is being contested in probate.

People may choose to contest a will for a variety of reasons:

  • Lack of correct signatures
  • Lack of witnesses
  • Lack of mental capacity
  • Undue influence or coercion
  • Fraud
  • Mistake
  • Revocation
  • Duress or coercion

How to Contest a Will

The interested party who wishes to contest a will must file an objection with the court, which serves to stop the probate of the will. They must also identify themselves as an heir who is either not currently listed in the will or a person who would have benefitted from an earlier version of the will that was altered later on. At the hearing, at which all other parties who are included in the will as well as any other heirs and executors, the interested party must offer evidence that illustrates the grounds for contesting the will.

A will can be soundly contested if any of the following conditions are true:

  • The interested party can show that the person who wrote and signed the will did not have the mental ability to fully comprehend their actions and decisions at the time of writing and/or signing.
  • The interested party believes the will was drafted in such a way that another person exerted improper influence over its terms.
  • The deceased was a victim of fraud during the making of the will.
  • The deceased was forced, detained, or confined during the will’s drafting.
  • The will contains one or more mistakes that may invalidate it.
  • The will was, in fact, voided by a later version or a similar estate document, such as a trust.

Time Limitations for Contesting a Will in California

Once the interested party files an objection with probate, all other heirs, beneficiaries, executors, or alternate executors must be notified of the contest and informed that they have 30 days to respond. If any person who was listed in the original will and stands to acquire assets, guardianship, or caregiving duties does not respond within the 30 days, the interested party is allowed to have the case heard by a judge in probate court. Whatever ruling is handed down is official and binding, and the other heirs must abide by whatever the judge accepts or rejects concerning the contest.

For children of the decedent who wish to contest, the California probate code indicates they may contest immediately after the passing of the parent. However, if the will is already admitted into probate, the child or children must file an objection to the document’s contents within 120 days.

Who Is Allowed to Contest a Will in California?

An interested party can contest a will, and this includes not only children of the deceased but any other beneficiaries who are named in the will, other heirs who were not named in the will, or creditors who are owed money from the person who passed away. Interested parties, including children, cannot simply contest a will because they were not included in the document as a beneficiary, they do not feel they received what they deserved from the deceased, or they were cut out of the will intentionally. Any interested party must provide legal grounds in probate that illustrate their reason for wanting to change or eliminate parts of the document or void the document altogether.

An exception to wills written by spouses in California is that since it is a community property state, a spouse is not permitted to alter or remove the other spouse’s property and leave them with nothing. They will most likely not succeed if they attempt to disinherit a spouse; in most situations, the spouses have 50/50 rights to property.

Your Newport Beach Will Contest and Asset Attorney

If you believe a loved one’s will was mishandled and should be altered or voided in order to ensure that their assets are properly secured and distributed, or you are already experiencing disputes over a will, contact Ross Law Group, APC in Newport Beach, California, as soon as possible for a consultation.

Your rights after the passing of a loved one are important to us, and equally important is our mission to ease the burden of stress and emotional turmoil you may experience in finding out that your family member’s will was mishandled or they were the victim of fraud. Our dedicated estate litigation team can immediately and aggressively advocate for your interests and determine the right course of action moving forward to provide you with the most beneficial results possible.

Practice Areas

Trust & Estate Litigation
Trust &
Estate Litigation


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