Assets held in a California estate after an individual passes on will likely be subject to the state’s probate laws. If the deceased person had a will, the probate process is designed to ensure that the document is valid. It may be possible for certain individuals to contest a will assuming that they have grounds to do so.
Who can contest a will?
Generally speaking, only those who are named as beneficiaries in the will are allowed to contest its terms. In addition, those who stand to benefit if the document is invalidated may also be allowed to do so. If a person is deemed to have died intestate, state law would likely determine how an estate is distributed. Family members would typically be at the top of the list to inherit items from an intestate estate.
What are the grounds to contest a will?
In addition to having standing to contest a will, there must be a legitimate reason to do so. For example, you may claim that the testator was not of sound mind when the document was crafted. It may also be possible to claim that the document was not structured in accordance with state law. If a will isn’t signed by the testator, it may not be a valid document. The same may be true if it isn’t signed by at least two witnesses.
Contesting a will may reduce the size of your inheritance as the cost of defending against a challenge comes out of the estate itself. Furthermore, doing so may cause conflicts with other family members that may be difficult to overcome. Therefore, it’s generally a good idea to consider all of the possible risks associated with a will contest even if you think that your challenge is valid.