Contested Wills in Diamond Bar, California

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In Diamond Bar, 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 various 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 general 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 Diamond Bar, California?

There are many reasons that a court in Diamond Bar, 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 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 heavily intoxicated, the will is likely to be held invalid by a court, if the underlying facts can be shown.

If the contest is successful, a court in Diamond Bar, 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, normally 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. Usually, 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 Diamond Bar, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

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

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Life in Diamond Bar

Diamond Bar, California is a largely residential city located in the eastern region of Los Angeles County.  It is conveniently situated where the Orange and Pomona freeways meet, just about 25 miles away from downtown Los Angeles.  Diamond Bar's location and economy make it an excellent commuter town with many employment opportunities.

The city was named after a type of ranching brand known as a "diamond over a bar", which reflects the city's historical foundations in cattle ranching.  The ranching industry helped lay the foundation for Diamond Bar's economic progress.  Currently, top employers in Diamond Bar, California include major organizations such as Allstate, Traveler's, and South Coast Air Quality Management District.  Many Diamond Bar residents enjoy a close commute to other employment sites nearby in the region.

Diamond Bar is particularly known for its focus on family life and communal events.  For example, the city holds weekend Farmer's Markets, regular Book Fairs, and other similar functions.  Residents enjoy participating events such as the Holiday Home Decorating Contest.  Other attractions in Diamond Bar, California include the T.H. Pendergast Museum and a lush golf course.  The city was also one of the first master-planned communities in the U.S.

Lawyers in Diamond Bar, California often assist clients at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, located nearby.  Diamond Bar lawyers are able to offer assistance in a broad range of legal categories and topics.  Many Diamond Bar attorneys participate in local community events and functions.

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