When a loved one passes, the last thing you want to do is worry about issues with their estate. Unfortunately, sometimes the unexpected does happen. If you find yourself in a position where you have to contest a will in California, it’s important to know what steps to take to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family.
There are several reasons why one might contest a will. Typically, this happens when there are multiple interested parties that claim that they are entitled to a deceased person’s estate. These interested parties can range from that person’s heir to creditors to whom they owed money. Whatever the case, if you need to contest a will in the state of California, it’s imperative that you petition the probate court right away. Here are some of the elements that will affect your case:
Your Reasons for Contesting
First, you must be able to prove to the court that all or a portion of the will is invalid. Perhaps, the deceased was somehow coerced or tricked into creating the will. In other cases, the diseased may have not been of sound mind when the will was created. If you are able to prove that the will is invalid for any of the above reasons, it could have your case.
Statute of Limitations
It’s important to note that you have a limited amount of time to act when it comes to contesting a will. Once the estate begins the probate process, the clock starts winding down. You must file before the estate’s probate hearing if you want your case heard. After that, you will only have four months to petition to revoke the will probate.
In California, individuals are allowed to add no-contest clauses to their wills. If the court decided to enforce this clause, it may ruin your chances of contesting the will. However, if you have a valid reason as to why the clause should not be upheld, the court may decide in your favor.
Typically, if a will is being contested, interested parties will be given notice and will have 30 days to respond. Whether you are the person contesting a will, or if you are an interested party who was notified of a contest petition, it’s important that you have legal representation to help navigate you through the process.
This is especially true if you’re faced with the task of contesting a will. All of the time constraints and burden of proof call on you as the contestant. In order to ensure that you have the best chance of winning your appeal, it’s important that you have a strong case for the probate court.
At Derryberry & Associates, we help people just like you with their complex probate cases. If you have questions about contesting a will, contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable probate attorneys today. Remember, when it comes to probate court, time is of the essence.