Contested Wills in Gilbert, Arizona
In Gilbert, Arizona, there is a procedure through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is identified as a "contested will" or "will contest."
A will is typically contested when a family member who expected to inherit a large amount of money or property are disappointed with the contents of the will, especially if the testator's motives are not clear. They will often assume that the will must be a forgery, or a result of fraud or force.
If a considerable amount of money or property is being given away, the person left out of the will could reasonably conclude that the cost and time of a court challenge is worth it.
Bringing legal action against anyone, let alone a family member, is not a decision that you should rush into. Contesting a will, especially if another family member stands to lose out if you are successful in the contest, can permanently alter or even destroy family relationships. Obviously, this is something to consider.
When Can a Will be Contested in Gilbert, Arizona?
A court in Gilbert, Arizona will not entertain a will contest unless there is a very good reason to do so. However, there are some allegations which, if proven, clearly invalidate a will.
For example, if the will was obtained through duress (threat of some kind of harm), then it is invalid. Duress, however, is difficult to prove. If a named beneficiary was in some position of power or trust with the decedent, and is not someone who one would ordinarily expect to get a large gift in a will, that might raise substantial initial suspicion of something improper happening. Of course, those facts alone are not nearly enough to prove duress.
A will can also be rejected because the decedent was not mentally competent to draft it at the it was made. A court will look at the person's mental capacity at the time the will was made, so even if the testator is now perfectly sane, if he or she was incapacitated for whatever reason (by way of intoxication, for example) at the time the will was made, the will can still be invalidated.
If a Gilbert, Arizona will is successfully challenged and therefore invalidated, there has to be some system for orderly distribution of the decedent's property. Typically, if a will is held invalid, all of the property will be treated as if the decedent had never written or will. This means that it goes to the decedent's closest living relative, or, if there are not relatives who can be located, the state.
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Can a Gilbert, Arizona Contested Will Attorney Help?
Because this can involve complicated legal issues, and be very emotionally draining, this is not something you want to go at alone. A knowledgeable lawyer in Gilbert, Arizona can be very helpful in making sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible.
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Life in Gilbert
Gilbert is a Maricopa County city that was ranked 24th safest city in the United States based on FBI crime statistics. Gilbert also maintains a top-notch school system that earned the title of 36th best place to live by GreatSchools.org. A large percent of Gilbert's 209,000 residents is comprised of families and young professionals, unsurprisingly. The rapidly growing high technology, renewable energy, and life sciences economy supports a wide range of high paying jobs. In fact, the average household income in Gilbert is $98,213 and over 1/3 of the adults hold higher than a bachelor's degree.
There are some very reputable lawyers living in Gilbert and know the local courts systems very well. Gilbert lawyers advise clients on a wide range of cases. Lawyers in Gilbert are knowledgeable of local courts so they'll be able to work with you to determine the best course of action for your case and with which court you should file you claim.
Gilbert is an attractive community for its plentiful amenities too. There are a number of shopping centers that serve the area of Gilbert as well as movie theaters and fun parks. Gilbert offers a number of public parks with picnic and barbeque accommodations. Bike paths and lanes make it easy for cyclists to safely travel throughout Gilbert. Josh Betley, professional BMX rider, lives in Gilbert.