Contested Wills in Corona, California

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In Corona, California, there is a procedure through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is identified 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 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 Corona, California?

Courts in Corona, California will not let a person contest a will unless they have an excellent reason. There are, however, some allegations which will always invalidate a will, if they are proven.

To be valid, a will must be a product of the testator's own free will. So, a will that the testator was forced or tricked into making is not valid, if the probate court finds out about the duress or trickery. Of course, wills are normally made many years before a person dies, so how can a person expect to prove duress or fraud if they suspect it? To begin with, it's not easy. It is possible, however. First of all, it's good to have as much documentation of the testator's affairs as possible. Any written statements concerning their desires on this matter will also be very useful, if there are any. Additionally, if the suspect gift is totally out of left field (property is left to someone that you know the testator didn't like, or barely knew, for instance), this might also support your position that the will was invalid. Of course, the testator can leave his or her money to whomever they want, so these facts, by themselves, will not be enough to prove fraud or duress.

Because a testator must know what they are doing in order to write a valid will, the testator must be of sound mind at the time the will is made. Basically, if a person is unaware of what they're doing, and the consequences of their actions, they can't make a valid will. This can be due to mental illness, or intoxication. Of course, if it's a result of intoxication, the testator can simply sober up and then make a perfectly valid will.

If you successfully contest the will in Corona, 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 typically happen during a person's life. Typically, 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 Corona, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because a will contest can sometimes involve difficult legal and factual questions, as well as some very raw emotions, a skilled Corona, California attorney can be invaluable in helping this process go as smoothly as possible.

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Life in Corona

Corona, CA is a medium-sized city in Riverside County, California. Its population is approximately 125,000 people. 

Corona was founded in the late 1800s, at the height of the citrus boom in Southern California. It was so successful in this industry that it was once nicknamed "the lemon capital of the world." Modernly, Corona, CA is a bedroom community (a primarily-residential community, the residents of which primarily commute to other cities for their jobs) for the larger cities in the Orange County and Inland Empire regions. Because of its affluent and residential nature, many residents of Corona, CA are highly successful professionals, such as doctors, accountants, and Corona, California lawyers.

In 2002, there was a proposal to turn Corona into its own county. It was drafted and reviewed by several Corona, California attorneys. However, the proposal never got off the ground.

The economy of Corona is dominated by education, healthcare, and other services. One of the largest employers is Watson Pharmaceuticals, which is a large manufacturer of generic medications, and is the 5th largest drug company in the country, by prescription numbers. This company employs many educated professionals, such as engineers and research scientists. On the administrative side, it also employs several lawyers.

If you live in Corona, CA and are facing a serious legal issue, there are many attorneys who practice law in and around Corona, California who will be able to advise you on your legal rights, and your chances of succeed

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