Contested Wills in La Habra, California
In La Habra, 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.
You should remember that a will contest frequently 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 La Habra, California?
Of course, a La Habra, 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 obtained through duress (a threat of harm, typically physical) is invalid. Of course, duress is very difficult to prove after the fact, and the issue may not even come up until many years after it allegedly occurred, making proof even more difficult. Nonetheless, if the named beneficiary was in some type of position of power or trust with respect to the decedent, and is not someone who one would normally expect to get a large gift in a will (they're unrelated to the testator, for example), those facts alone might be enough to raise the suspicion of impropriety. Of course, those facts by themselves are not 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. 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 you successfully contest the will in La Habra, California, the court will likely distribute the property as if the decedent had died without a will. This usually involves giving it to the closest living relative. While the exact intestacy schemes (the order in which property is distributed to relatives) vary from state to state, they are usually pretty similar. If possible, the property will go to the decedent's spouse, and if the decedent has any minor children with that spouse, it is with the understanding that the money will be used primarily for their care. If the decedent did not have children or a spouse (or outlived them), the property typically goes to the decedent's parents. If neither of them are alive, it goes to grand children, grandparents, or siblings. After that, it typically goes to cousins, nieces/nephews, step-children, former spouses, etc. Intestacy laws provide a line of succession long enough that just about anyone will leave at least one person behind who is entitled to inherit from them, even if they're an extremely distant relation. Sometimes, however, people make multiple wills, to account for the many personal and financial changes that typically happen during a person's life. Typically, the most recent will purports to revoke all past wills, to avoid any conflict between them. In such cases, if a will is entirely invalidated, a court can sometimes revive the second most recent will.
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Can a La Habra, California Contested Will Attorney Help?
Contesting a will is often challenging, and never fun. However, the entire process can be made more bearable if you have the help of a knowledgeable La Habra, California attorney, and the process will probably be much more manageable.
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Life in La HabraLa Habra is located in Orange County, California. The city has a lot of history to it because in the 1800s, the area was seen as a natural path to the north. Spanish explorers discovered the area, and Mariano Reyes Roldan was granted the lan. Later, Abel Stearns purchased the land from him. Therefore, many La Habra residents pride themselves over the rich history associated with their properties.
Famous residents include Rusty Anderson, Natalie Golda, Cathy Cooper, Richard Nixon, Ann Meyers, Jenna Haze, Jennifer Hanson, Anne Ramsay, and Norma Zimmer. It is not hard to believe that so many well-known people would want to own property in such a beautiful, history-rich area.
Being in Orange County, La Habra is a short drive away from beautiful beaches, many quaint downtown areas with great shopping and dining, and gorgeous properties to admire and/or live in. The wonderful weather of Orange County is an added plus.
Residents also have the luxury of having top-notch firms with excellent attorneys near by. Orange County is home to many firms of all sizes, that practice in all areas of law, and attract and train some of the nation's most brilliant legal minds. Therefore La Habra residents have no tension for any legal need of theirs can be handled well by the legal force in Orange County.