Contested Wills in Burlingame, California

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In Burlingame, 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."

There are several reasons why a person might want to contest a will made by a close family member. Sometimes, people will decide to leave money or property to charity, or to other entities who are not closely related. If their family members weren't expecting this, they might assume that something went wrong with the drafting of the will.

If the decedent was fairly well-off, their will might involve a great deal of money or property. This is one of the basic reasons, besides a general sense of exclusion, that a family member might expend the great deal of time and money necessary to contest a will.

However, this is a matter that should not be approached lightly - will contests can often foster strife and infighting within families who are already mourning the loss of a loved one. This can permanently damage or alter family relationships.

When Can a Will be Contested in Burlingame, California?

A court in Burlingame, California 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, a will obtained through duress (a threat of harm, usually physical) is invalid. Of course, duress is very difficult to prove after the fact, and the issue may not even come up until many years after it allegedly occurred, making proof even more difficult. However, if the named beneficiary was in some type of position of power or trust with respect to the decedent, and is not someone who one would normally expect to get a large gift in a will (they're unrelated to the testator, for example), those facts alone might be enough to raise the suspicion of impropriety. Of course, those facts by themselves are not enough to prove duress.

Another reason why a will might be invalid is the maker of the will being mentally incompetent at the time the will was made. In order to make a valid will, the person making it must have enough of his or her mental faculties to understand what they're doing, and the consequences of it.

So, you've succeeded in contesting the validity of a Burlingame, California will. What happens to the property that was going to be distributed according to its terms? Generally, 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." Usually, this simply means that the assets will be passed on to their owner's closest living relative, typically 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. Therefore, the old will can be given effect.

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Can a Burlingame, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is never particularly easy or enjoyable. However, a good Burlingame, 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 Burlingame

Burlingame, California is a city in San Mateo County, California. It is located south of San Francisco, on the San Francisco Peninsula. It has a significant portion of shoreline on the San Francisco Bay. Its population is about 29,000 people.

Burlingame is unofficially nicknamed the "city of trees" because of the huge number of trees within the city limits (there are over 18,000 publicly-owned trees in Burlingame, California). Thanks to its close proximity to the San Francisco International Airport, many airlines and related companies do a large amount of business in Burlingame, California. 

Airlines employ a very large number of people, in a wide range of industries. These included administrative personnel, such as Burlingame, California lawyers.

So, if you live in Burlingame, California and are in need of legal advice, it's almost certain that there are attorneys in Burlingame, California who can assist you.

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