Contested Wills in Fontana, California

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In Fontana, California, there is a process through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is identified 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 Fontana, California?

Of course, a Fontana, California court will not invalidate a will without a very good reason, but there are some cases which render a will clearly invalid.

For instance, a will which was not made under the testator's own volition and free will is not valid. This means that the testator must be acting voluntarily throughout the entire process of making his will. Thus, a will made under duress (force, or threat of force) will not be given effect. In order to show duress, you generally need to first prove that the person named in the will was in a position of trust and power over the decedent, and that they are an "unnatural beneficiary" (someone who you would not normally expect to receive a gift under a will, usually because they are not related to, or close friends with, the testator). These facts, taken alone, are never enough to definitively prove that duress occurred. They are, however, usually enough to suggest that something strange is going on, and warrant further investigation.

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. 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 Fontana, California will is successfully challenged and thus invalidated, there has to be some system for orderly distribution of the decedent's property. Typically, 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 Fontana, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is never particularly easy or enjoyable. However, a reliable Fontana, 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 Fontana

Fontana, California is known as a central hub for the trucking industry because Interstate 10, State Route 210 and Interstate 15 surround it.  Fontana lies in San Bernardino County, California.  The area is famous for its history, with a historic regional park, theater, and the Kaiser Steel Mill.  Alongside history, Fontana is also home to runners all over California because Fontana hosts the Fontana Days Half Marathon and the 5K run.  This race is known all over the world as the fastest marathon course!

Fontana is home to approximately 196,069 residents, which includes a diverse population of African Americans, Caucasians, Native Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Latinos.  With so many people, naturally Fontana would offer many cultural, sports, and recreation activities.  These activities include the Center Stage Theater, Art Depot, Auto Club Speedway and Fontana Park. 

Fontana's main industry is the trucking industry.  Therefore the city is home to many truck dealerships and equipment sales centers.  Legal services are available to support this industry via small law offices in Fontana that have excellent attorneys.  For larger firms or extensive legal representation, the industry and residents of Fontana have available the many law firms that are located in nearby Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga. 

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