Contested Wills in Antioch, California

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In Antioch, California, there is a procedure through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is known as a "contested will" or "will contest."

A will is usually 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 large 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.

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

When Can a Will be Contested in Antioch, California?

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

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

Another thing to consider is the mental capacity of the person making the will. If, at the time the will was made, the testator was insane or severely intoxicated, the will is likely to be held invalid by a court, if the underlying facts can be proven.

If the contest is successful, a court in Antioch, 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, usually 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. Typically, 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 Antioch, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is often difficult, and never fun. However, the whole process can be made more bearable if you have the help of a qualified Antioch, California attorney, and the process will probably be much more manageable.

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Life in Antioch

Antioch, California is a city of about 103,000 people. It is located in Contra Costa County, California, in the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. It is considered a suburb of San Francisco and Oakland.

Antioch is one of the oldest towns in California. It was founded in 1850. A few years later, coal was discovered in some of the nearby hills, and coal mining became the first major industry in Antioch, California. 

Modernly, Antioch is a mostly-residential community, where many professionals who work in the larger cities nearby, such as San Francisco and Oakland, live. Its economy is based largely on retail, healthcare, and white-collar services, such as law offices and lawyers.

If you live in Antioch, California, and need legal advice, it's almost certain that there's an Antioch, California attorney who can help.

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