Contested Wills in Del Mar, California

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In Del Mar, California, there is a process through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is recognized 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.

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

When Can a Will be Contested in Del Mar, California?

There are many reasons that a court in Del Mar, California might 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 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 honestly voluntary unless the testator knows what they're doing. Therefore, 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 a Del Mar, California will is successfully challenged and thus invalidated, there has to be some system for orderly distribution of the decedent's property. Normally, 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 Del Mar, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is never particularly easy or enjoyable. However, a seasoned Del Mar, California attorney can help take some of the burden off of you, and handle some of the most difficult aspects of this process.

2 Wills, Trusts and Estates cases posted to LegalMatch lawyers in Del Mar

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Life in Del Mar

Del Mar is located in San Diego County, California. With a smaller population of about 4,500, Del Mar is an upscale city known for its beautiful beaches and legendary surfing.  The name "Del Mar" means "by the sea" or "of the sea", as it is located directly on the Pacific Coast.  The city was mentioned in the Beach Boys hit song, "Surfin' USA". 

Del Mar is home to several beaches which are known as excellent surfing spots.  In particular, 15th Street Beach in Del Mar was listed as #4 on Time Magazine's list of "100 Greatest Beaches in the World".  Other beach sites include Torrey Pines State Beach and North Beach, affectionately known as "Dog Beach" by the many dog owners who frequent the area.

Del Mar, California is also famous for being the home to the annual San Diego County Fair.  The fair is one of the most popular summer fairs in all of California and is held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  The Fairgrounds also houses the Del Mar Racetrack.  In addition to the world-class beaches at Del Mar, the area is an excellent site for employment, with top hirers such as Kitchen 1540 and Pacifica Del Mar.

Lawyers in Del Mar, California handle a variety of different legal claims and disputes.  Legal inquiries can be directed to an experienced Del Mar lawyer.  Del Mar lawyers typically represent clients at the nearby Superior Court of California, County of San Diego.

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