Contested Wills in Los Angeles, California

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In Los Angeles, 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 Los Angeles, California?

A court in Los Angeles, 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.

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 you successfully contest the will in Los Angeles, 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.

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Can a Los Angeles, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because a will contest can sometimes involve difficult legal and factual questions, as well as some very raw emotions, a skilled Los Angeles, California attorney can be invaluable in helping this process go as smoothly as possible.

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Life in Los Angeles

Most people think of Hollywood when they think of Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles is home to many celebrities, movie studios such as Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment Studios, and the Walk of Fame.  Los Angeles residents and visitors can often sight celebrities shopping on Rodeo Drive, in Malibu, Beverly Hills, or in various night clubs.

Besides celebrities, Los Angeles is near the happiest on Earth-Disneyland!  Kicking back and enjoying rides, great shows and parades, and hanging out with your favorite Disney characters is not the only thing Disneyland is about.  Rather, Disneyland is a place where families come together, have fun, and both children and adults feel like a kid again.  This unique attraction is one of the reasons Los Angeles is so visited by people all over the world.
Other attractions in Los Angeles include the J. Paul Getty Museum, Universal Studios Hollywood, Hollywood Museum, Griffith Park, Venice Beach, and the Hollywood Bowl Museum. 

Los Angeles being such a large city with a population of 9,862,049 is home to many intelligent, ivy-league-educated, and promising lawyers.  Therefore, many large, multinational as well as mid-sized and small firms are present in Los Angeles.  No legal need is left unattended in Los Angeles, California. 

Contested Will Lawyers in Other California Cities and Towns


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