Contested Wills in Castro Valley, California
In Castro Valley, California, there is a process through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is identified as a "contested will" or "will contest."
There are numerous 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 major 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.
Nonetheless, this is a matter that should not be approached lightly - will contests can frequently 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 Castro Valley, California?
A court in Castro Valley, California will not entertain a will contest unless there is a very good reason to do so. But, there are some allegations which, if shown, clearly invalidate a will.
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.
A will can also be denied because the decedent was not mentally competent to draft it at the it was made. A court will look at the person's mental capacity at the time the will was made, so even if the testator is now perfectly sane, if he or she was incapacitated for whatever reason (by way of intoxication, for instance) at the time the will was made, the will can still be invalidated.
If a Castro Valley, California will is successfully challenged and thus invalidated, there has to be some system for orderly distribution of the decedent's property. Typically, if a will is held invalid, all of the property will be treated as if the decedent had never written or will. This means that it goes to the decedent's closest living relative, or, if there are not relatives who can be located, the state.
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Can a Castro Valley, California Contested Will Attorney Help?
Because this can involve complicated legal issues, and be very emotionally draining, this is not something you want to go at alone. A reliable lawyer in Castro Valley, California can be very helpful in making sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible.
Contested Will Attorneys in the Largest CA Cities
Life in Castro ValleyCastro Valley, California is situated in Alameda County in the Bay Area. With its population of over 61,000, it is one of the largest unincorporated areas in the entire state. The economy of Castro Valley had its early foundations in chicken ranching, with several industry innovators in the city. Today Castro Valley is favored as a commuter town due to its proximity to metropolitan areas like San Francisco and San Jose.
Castro Valley Boulevard is the hub of economic and social activity in the city. The area contains many old-style boutique shops and diners, as well as modern establishments. Castro Valley is also well known for its florist shops, where patrons can purchase unique floral arrangements. Much of the city is comprised of hilly areas like Palomares Hills Park, which offers a breathtaking view of the city.
Popular attractions in Castro Valley, California include bowling at Castro Valley Bowl, miniature golfing at Golden Tee, and activities at the Castro Valley Community Center. Castro Valley hosts city events like the Fall Festival, the Classic Car Show, and a Rodeo Parade which has featured dancing horses. The Adobe Art Center also offers instructional courses and showcases art exhibits from local talent.
Lawyers in Castro Valley, California represent clients in many types of legal matters and issues. Many Castro Valley cases are filed at the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda located near the city. Many Castro Valley attorneys actively contribute to the community through local groups and civic organizations.