Contested Wills in Dana Point, California

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In Dana Point, 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.

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 Dana Point, California?

There are several reasons that a court in Dana Point, California might 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 thing to consider is the mental capacity of the person making the will. If, at the time the will was made, the testator was insane or severely intoxicated, the will is likely to be held invalid by a court, if the underlying facts can be proven.

If the contest is successful, a court in Dana Point, California might find the will or part of it invalid. Of course, that leaves the question of how to distribute the property in the absence of a valid will. All states have laws that address this situation, usually passing the property to the decedent's closest living kin. All states have laws governing the order in which property is passed on in this manner. Typically, it goes to the spouse first. If there is no living spouse, it goes to the children. If there are no children, it goes to the decedent's parents, and so on. Most laws on this subject are written in such a way that almost everyone will have at least one relative entitled to inherit, even if that person is very distantly related to the decedent. In the very rare case where no living relatives exist, or none can be found, the decedent's assets usually go to the state.

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Can a Dana Point, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

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

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Life in Dana Point

Dana Point, California is situated in the southern area of Orange County, near the western coast.  It is known for its mild climate and warm temperatures, typical of a California coastal city.  Dana Point has a population of over 33,000 and is a favored location for surfing.  It was named after the Dana Point headlands.

Dana Point's city motto is, "Harboring the Good Life", which speaks of both its harbor culture and its laid-back atmosphere.  Popular places to visit include Dana Point Harbor, Salt Creek Beach Park, and Doheny State Beach Park.  These locations provide excellent locations for outdoor activities such as surfing, picnics, and beach sports.  In its early history, Dana Point, California has been described as "the only romantic spot on the coast".

It goes without saying that many of the events and attractions in Dana Point, California revolve around its beautiful beaches.  These include the "Festival of Whales" and the "Tall Ships Festival".  The annual Dana Point Grand Prix is a bike race winding through downtown and continuing on to some spectacular, breathtaking views.  Many of the beach areas also feature local shopping, fine seafood dining, and boutique shops.

Lawyers in Dana Point, California assist the community in a broad range of legal topics.  Some of the legal issues and laws in Dana Point may be specific to the area.  Experienced Dana Point lawyers can provide legal services that are tailored to meet the needs of city residents.

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