Contested Wills in Laguna Niguel, California

Find the Right Lawyer Now

In Laguna Niguel, California, there is a procedure through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is recognized 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.

You should remember that a will contest commonly results in adversarial legal proceedings, which can be very contentious. 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 Laguna Niguel, California?

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

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 usually 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. Further, 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.

Another reason why a will might be invalid is the maker of the will being mentally incompetent at the time the will was made. In order to make a valid will, the person making it must have enough of his or her mental faculties to understand what they're doing, and the consequences of it.

If you successfully contest the will in Laguna Niguel, 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 normally happen during a person's life. Normally, 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.

Find a Laguna Niguel Lawyer that Specializes in Your Area of Need:

Can a Laguna Niguel, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because this can involve complicated legal issues, and be very emotionally draining, this is not something you want to go at alone. A brilliant lawyer in Laguna Niguel, California can be very helpful in making sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible.

16 Wills, Trusts and Estates cases posted to LegalMatch lawyers in Laguna Niguel

Contested Will Attorneys in the Largest CA Cities

Show California Cities

Life in Laguna Niguel

Laguna Niguel, California is a city in Orange County. Laguna Niguel is known for its affluence, and upscale amenities. It currently has a population of about 63,000 people. 

Laguna Niguel was incorporated in 1959, and was built from a detailed master plan, making it an early example of a master-planned community. When construction of the I-5 freeway completed in the early 1960s, the population of Laguna Niguel, California began to grow much more rapidly.

Like many communities in Orange County, Laguna Niguel is quite affluent. The median household income is over $100,000 per year, with many successful professionals, such as lawyers, making it their home. Many of these professionals work in other nearby cities. The top employers within the Laguna Niguel city limits are generally in the retail industry. 

Because of its large concentration of professionals and businesses, there are many lawyers in Laguna Niguel, California who are capable of handing a wide range of legal issues. If you live in the area, and need legal advice, it's very likely that a Laguna Niguel, California attorney can help you out.

Contested Will Lawyers in Other California Cities and Towns


Find the Right Lawyer Now

Need a Lawyer?

No obligation - Lawyers compete for your case. Choose your issue & get started now: