Contested Wills in Albany, California

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In Albany, California, there is a process through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is recognized as a "contested will" or "will contest."

A will is normally contested when a family member who expected to inherit a large amount of money or property are disappointed with the contents of the will, particularly if the testator's motives are not clear. They will usually assume that the will must be a forgery, or a result of fraud or force.

If a massive amount of money or property is being given away, the person left out of the will could rationally conclude that the cost and time of a court challenge is worth it.

As with the initiation of any other legal proceeding, contesting a will is a big decision. It can be time-consuming and costlye. It also has the possibility to damage family relationships and foster strife among individuals who are already mourning the loss of a loved one.

When Can a Will be Contested in Albany, California?

Of course, a Albany, California court will not invalidate a will without a very good reason, but there are some instances which render a will clearly invalid.

For instance, 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 considerable initial suspicion of something improper happening. Of course, those facts alone are not nearly enough to prove duress.

Because a testator must know what they are doing in order to write a valid will, the testator must be of sound mind at the time the will is made. Essentially, if a person is unaware of what they're doing, and the consequences of their actions, they can't make a legitimate will. This can be due to mental illness, or intoxication. Of course, if it's a result of intoxication, the testator can simply sober up and then make a perfectly valid will.

If the contest is successful, a court in Albany, California might find the will or part of it invalid. Of course, that leaves the question of how to distribute the property in the absence of a valid will. All states have laws that address this situation, normally passing the property to the decedent's closest living kin. All states have laws governing the order in which property is passed on in this manner. Usually, it goes to the spouse first. If there is no living spouse, it goes to the children. If there are no children, it goes to the decedent's parents, and so on. Most laws on this subject are written in such a way that almost everyone will have at least one relative entitled to inherit, even if that person is very distantly related to the decedent. In the very rare case where no living relatives exist, or none can be found, the decedent's assets usually go to the state.

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Can a Albany, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because a will contest can sometimes involve convoluted legal and factual questions, as well as some very raw emotions, a skilled Albany, California attorney can be invaluable in helping this process go as smoothly as possible.

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Life in Albany

Albany, California is a city in Alameda County. It has a population of about 18,500 people.

The town of Albany was incorporated in 1909, when residents became fed up with the larger nearby city of Berkeley dumping its garbage in Albany. The residents voted to incorporate to give the town more territorial autonomy, allowing them to legally bar other cities from dumping garbage there without permission.

The city was named after Albany, New York, which was the birthplace of the town's first mayor.

Modernly, Albany is a quiet residential community, whose local economy is largely based around retail and services. Many professionals, such as lawyers, who practice in nearby larger cities, live in Albany, California.

There are also many lawyers who live, as well as practice, in Albany, California. So, if you need legal advice, it's very likely that there's an Albany, California attorney who will be able to help.

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