Contested Wills in Beverly Hills, California

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In Beverly Hills, 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 frequently 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 Beverly Hills, California?

Of course, a Beverly Hills, 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, a will which was not made under the testator's own volition and free will is not valid. This means that the testator must be acting voluntarily throughout the entire process of making his will. Thus, a will made under duress (force, or threat of force) will not be given effect. In order to show duress, you generally need to first prove that the person named in the will was in a position of trust and power over the decedent, and that they are an "unnatural beneficiary" (someone who you would not normally expect to receive a gift under a will, usually because they are not related to, or close friends with, the testator). These facts, taken alone, are never enough to definitively prove that duress occurred. They are, however, usually enough to suggest that something strange is going on, and warrant further investigation.

Another fact that might invalidate a will is the mental incompetence of the testator. Wills must be a product of a person's volition. A will cannot be honestly voluntary unless the testator knows what they're doing. Therefore, if the testator is mentally incompetent at the time he or she makes the will, the will cannot take effect. You should be aware, however, that this test applies at the time the will is made. So, if the testator is not mentally competent at the time of death, but was when the will was made, the will is valid.

So, you've succeeded in contesting the validity of a Beverly Hills, California will. What happens to the property that was going to be distributed according to its terms? Typically, when a will is declared void, the decedent's assets will be treated as if he or she had died without a will. This is known as "intestacy." Normally, this simply means that the assets will be passed on to their owner's closest living relative, usually a spouse, children, siblings, or parents. If absolutely no relatives can be found, the property is passed to the state. If there is a previous will, which was revoked by the invalid will, a court might revive the old will. If the new will was found to be completely invalid (rather than just parts of it), it follows, then, that the revocation of the old will is invalid as well. Thus, the old will can be given effect.

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Can a Beverly Hills, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is never particularly easy or enjoyable. However, a seasoned Beverly Hills, California attorney can help take some of the burden off of you, and handle some of the most difficult aspects of this process.

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Life in Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills, California is located in Los Angeles County and is one of the most affluent cities in the country.  The city is famous for being a trendsetter for fashion, beautiful homes, and high-end living.  Many celebrities and movie stars live in Beverly Hills.  Along with Bel Air and Holmby Hills, it forms part of the "Platinum Triangle" of wealthy L.A. neighborhoods.
   
The area of Beverly Hills, California is home to a number of Fortune 500 companies, including Platinum Equity and John Paul Mitchell Systems.  In addition to major corporate businesses, the economy of Beverly Hills is supported by an abundance of high-end fashion retailers.  In particular, Rodeo Drive is a world-famous shopping district filled with cutting-edge fashion boutiques and designer label stores.  It is estimated that the operating budget of Beverly Hills, California exceeds $300 million, which is comparable to the Gross National Product for the entire British Virgin Islands.

Beverly Hills is frequently featured in movies and television shows.  A few familiar examples include the hit television series Beverly Hills, 90210 and the Beverly Hills Cop movies.  Other attractions include the Beverly Hills Hotel (referenced in the Eagles' song "Hotel California"), Walden Drive, and Beverly Gardens Park.

Lawyers in Beverly Hills, California perform legal services to meet the unique needs of the city's residents.  Many Beverly Hills lawyers file lawsuits at the West District branch of the Los Angeles Superior Court, located within the city.  Attorneys in Beverly Hills represent clients in both general and specific areas of law.

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