Contested Wills in El Cajon, California
In El Cajon, 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 El Cajon, California?
Of course, a El Cajon, California court will not invalidate a will without a very good reason, but there are some cases which render a will clearly invalid.
For example, if the will was obtained through duress (threat of some kind of harm), then it is invalid. Duress, however, is difficult to prove. If a named beneficiary was in some position of power or trust with the decedent, and is not someone who one would ordinarily expect to get a large gift in a will, that might raise substantial initial suspicion of something improper happening. Of course, those facts alone are not nearly 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.
So, you've succeeded in contesting the validity of a El Cajon, California will. What happens to the property that was going to be distributed according to its terms? Usually, when a will is declared void, the decedent's assets will be treated as if he or she had died without a will. This is known as "intestacy." Typically, this simply means that the assets will be passed on to their owner's closest living relative, normally a spouse, children, siblings, or parents. If absolutely no relatives can be found, the property is passed to the state. If there is a previous will, which was revoked by the invalid will, a court might revive the old will. If the new will was found to be completely invalid (rather than just parts of it), it follows, then, that the revocation of the old will is invalid as well. Consequently, the old will can be given effect.
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Can a El Cajon, California Contested Will Attorney Help?
Contesting a will is never particularly easy or enjoyable. However, a knowledgeable El Cajon, California attorney can help take some of the burden off of you, and handle some of the most difficult aspects of this process.
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Life in El CajonEl Cajon, California is a city in San Diego County. It has a population of just under 100,000 people.
El Cajon, California was formed from a land grant from the Mexican government in 1845, and was officially incorporated as a city in 1912.
El Cajon is located inland from San Diego, and as a result, its climate has more variation than San Diego from one extreme to another, but compared to most other places, its climate can be considered quite mild. Summers in El Cajon, California are quite warm, though it rarely gets extremely hot.
Like most places in California, El Cajon sports a large amount of ethnic and religious diversity. El Cajon, California is also home to a burgeoning art and culture district, including art galleries, and a strong commitment to public art.
If you are facing a legal issue in El Cajon, California, chances are good that there is a lawyer nearby who is capable of handling your problem, whatever it might be. El Cajon, California lawyers are always ready to meet the legal needs of their community. If you have any legal trouble whatsoever, no case is too big or too small for an El Cajon attorney.