Contested Wills in Culver City, California

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In Culver City, 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 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.

As with the initiation of any other legal proceeding, contesting a will is a big decision. It can be time-consuming and expensivee. It also has the possibility to damage family relationships and foster strife among people who are already mourning the loss of a loved one.

When Can a Will be Contested in Culver City, California?

There are various reasons that a court in Culver City, California might invalidate a will.

For example, a will obtained through duress (a threat of harm, typically 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 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 really voluntary unless the testator knows what they're doing. Accordingly, 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.

If you successfully contest the will in Culver City, 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 Culver City, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is often challenging, and never fun. However, the whole process can be made more bearable if you have the help of a knowledgeable Culver City, California attorney, and the process will probably be much more manageable.

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Life in Culver City

Culver City, California is located in the western portion of Los Angeles County.  The city has a population of about 39,000 people.  It is famous for being a center for television and motion picture production, as it was home to MGM Studios.  Today, MGM Studios is now Sony Pictures Studios and produces many films and television shows.  Culver City's motto is "the Heart of Screenland". 

Sony Pictures Entertainment is the top employer in Culver City, California.  In addition to the Sony studios, Culver City is home to other major production companies like Culver Studios and the NFL Network.  The list of motion pictures produced in Culver City includes films such as The Wizard of Oz, Grease, City Slickers, and Air Force One.  Some television shows made there have included Jeopardy! and Lassie.  Many celebrities have lived in Culver City, like actress Drew Barrymore, singer/songwriter Jackson Browne, and actor Jack Black.

Culver City California is also known for its many different events and attractions.  For example, residents can enjoy the Ballona Creek bicycle path, the Culver Ice Arena, and the Culver City Symphony Orchestra.  The Kirk Douglas Theater is also a popular destination.  Visitors can take the Sony Studios tour or the town's Historic Walking tour.

Lawyers in Culver City, California represent a diverse body of clients, organizations, and companies.  Culver City lawyers often handle claims that are complex in addition to simpler claims.  Experienced attorneys in Culver City provide a wide range of legal services for the community.

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