Contested Wills in Long Beach, California

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Long Beach, CA

In Long Beach, California, there is a process through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is recognized 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 commonly 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 Long Beach, California?

A court in Long Beach, California will not entertain a will contest unless there is a very good reason to do so. But, there are some allegations which, if shown, clearly invalidate a will.

For instance, a will obtained through duress (a threat of harm, normally 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 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 legitimate will, the individual 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 Long Beach, 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.

Can a Long Beach, 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 seasoned lawyer in Long Beach, California can be very helpful in making sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible.

Talk to a Wills, Trusts & Estates Law Attorney now!

Life in Long Beach

Long Beach, California is best known as "the LBC" by rap and pop music fans. Long Beach is actually the 7th largest city in California with just under 500,000 residents. Recently, Long Beach was named the "Aquatic Capital of the Nation" because the Port of Long Beach is one of the world's largest container ports and plays a substantial part in the global economy. The City of Long Beach is does not only revolve around the port. Many oil, aircraft, automobile, electronics, and home furnishings manufacturing plants are located in Long Beach. The city has seen an influx of new residents since the aerospace and other technology industries have begun to boom. In fact, Boeing produces DC-8s, DC-9s, DC-10s, MD-11s, C-17s, and the Boeing 717 all from their Long Beach production plants. Boeing is the second largest employer in Long Beach in front of California State University Long Beach and behind the Log Beach Unified School District.

Long Beach has obviously made production and transportation one of the cornerstones of the economy so you shouldn't be surprised to find the bevy of ports, busses, airports, freeways, highways and bike paths that have been masterfully incorporated into the city's design. Long Beach announced its vision to become the most bicycle friendly city and has really followed through. The city has identified traffic routes and destinations and created bike routes that are convenient and illustrated on the Long Beach City Bike Map for tourists and locals alike.

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