Contested Wills in Camarillo, California
In Camarillo, California, there is a procedure through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is recognized as a "contested will" or "will contest."
There are many 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 main 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 commonly 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 Camarillo, California?
A court in Camarillo, 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.
One big reason to invalidate a will is the fact that the will was made under duress. "Duress" simply means forcing somebody to do something they don't want to, using some kind of threat. Normally, the threat involves some type of physical harm. The most obvious example would involve putting a gun to somebody's head and telling them to write a will containing the terms desired by the gunman. Such a will, assuming the underlying facts can be proven in court, will never be valid. Of course, the validity of a will rarely becomes an issue until the testator has died, which may be years after the will was drafted. This means that proving the circumstances under which the will was made can often be very difficult. However, there are certain facts, such as the devise being to an "unnatural" beneficiary (somebody the testator didn't know very well, for instance), and the beneficiary being in a position of power over the decedent, are enough to at least create a suspicion that something is wrong.
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.
If you successfully contest the will in Camarillo, California, the court will likely distribute the property as if the decedent had died without a will. This usually involves giving it to the closest living relative. While the exact intestacy schemes (the order in which property is distributed to relatives) vary from state to state, they are usually pretty similar. If possible, the property will go to the decedent's spouse, and if the decedent has any minor children with that spouse, it is with the understanding that the money will be used primarily for their care. If the decedent did not have children or a spouse (or outlived them), the property typically goes to the decedent's parents. If neither of them are alive, it goes to grand children, grandparents, or siblings. After that, it typically goes to cousins, nieces/nephews, step-children, former spouses, etc. Intestacy laws provide a line of succession long enough that just about anyone will leave at least one person behind who is entitled to inherit from them, even if they're an extremely distant relation. Sometimes, however, people make multiple wills, to account for the many personal and financial changes that normally happen during a person's life. Normally, the most recent will purports to revoke all past wills, to avoid any conflict between them. In such cases, if a will is entirely invalidated, a court can sometimes revive the second most recent will.
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Can a Camarillo, California Contested Will Attorney Help?
Contesting a will is often hard, and never fun. However, the whole process can be made more bearable if you have the help of a reliable Camarillo, California attorney, and the process will probably be much more manageable.
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Life in CamarilloSituated in sunny Ventura County, Camarillo, California is a city of about 65,000 (based a 2006 estimate). Camarillo, California is named for two brothers of Spanish descent who lived in the area before the arrival of Anglo settlers, from the Eastern U.S. They, and other "Californios," helped preserve some of the region's Spanish heritage, in the face of the mostly English influence that settlers from other parts of the U.S. brought with them.
Humans have lived in the area for over 10,000 years, and Camarillo, California is home to some important archeological sites relating to these ancient inhabitants. Camarillo, California is generally considered a "bedroom community" - a largely residential urban area from which most of the residents commute to work.
Camarillo, California is considered very livable, where the weather is usually sunny, and the temperatures mild. Furthermore, Camarillo, California's crime rates are far lower than the national average, for all types of crime.
Camarillo, California is also home to California State University, Channel Islands. The region is home to several major industrial and biotechnology firms.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the consumers of Camarillo's legal services tend to be fairly sophisticated. This draws in lawyers who are good at handling complex cases. This means that a Camarillo, California lawyer can probably handle just about any legal issue an individual is likely to encounter.
Whatever your legal issue, it's a near certainty that there's a Camarillo, California lawyer who can help you solve it.