Contested Wills in Irvine, California

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In Irvine, California, there is a process through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is known 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.

You should remember that a will contest often results in adversarial legal proceedings, which can be very combative. Considering the likelihood that other members of your family might be on the other side, it's clear that this can really damage a person's relationship with his or her family.

When Can a Will be Contested in Irvine, California?

There are several reasons that a court in Irvine, California might invalidate a will.

To be valid, a will must be a product of the testator's own free will. So, a will that the testator was forced or tricked into making is not valid, if the probate court finds out about the duress or trickery. Of course, wills are typically made many years before a person dies, so how can a person expect to prove duress or fraud if they suspect it? To begin with, it's not easy. It is possible, however. First of all, it's good to have as much documentation of the testator's affairs as possible. Any written statements concerning their desires on this matter will also be very useful, if there are any. Also, if the suspect gift is totally out of left field (property is left to someone that you know the testator didn't like, or barely knew, for instance), this might also support your position that the will was invalid. Of course, the testator can leave his or her money to whomever they want, so these facts, by themselves, will not be enough to prove fraud or duress.

A will can also be denied because the decedent was not mentally competent to draft it at the it was made. A court will look at the person's mental capacity at the time the will was made, so even if the testator is now perfectly sane, if he or she was incapacitated for whatever reason (by way of intoxication, for instance) at the time the will was made, the will can still be invalidated.

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

Contesting a will is never particularly easy or enjoyable. However, a reputable Irvine, 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 Irvine

Irvine is a city that has been meticulously planned. That could be why CNN voted it 4th best place to live in the entire United States but there are a number of other reasons like the FBI stating Irvine has the least violent crime in any city with a population over 100,000. Over twice that number live within Irvine city limits and enjoy access to all Irvine has to offer.

Over 50 companies have their world headquarters in Irvine including Taco Bell, Ultimate Ears, Felt Bicycles, LA Fitness, and Meade Instruments. Toshiba Corporations, Samsung Electronics, Kia Motors, Asics, and Shimano all operate their North American Headquarters from Irvine as well. With so many large businesses in Irvine, you'd probably be surprised to find out the University of California, Irvine and Irvine unified School District are still the top two employers in the city. Communications giant Cellco Partnership/Verizon Wireless and medical companies Edwards Lifesciences and Allergan are three other big hitters in the Irvine economy.

There's plenty of opportunity for recreation among Irvine residents and visitors. The City of Irvine offers countless community and neighborhood parks. The Northwood Community Park offers one of the most distinctive sights. The Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial is exceptional because it's the first United States memorial to be built before the war was over. Honoring the fallen U.S. military personnel from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's also the only memorial that will be updated yearly to display the 5,700+ names. Irvine also hosts the Irvine Global Village Festival celebrating diversity. The festival offers a wide range of exhibitions, entertainment, and food from cultures around the globe.

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