Contested Wills in Moreno Valley, California
In Moreno Valley, 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 a lot of money, or some specifically valuable property, is at stake, the person who was left out might want to go to court and allege that the will was invalid. When left out of a will, a family member might naturally assume that some kind of mistake has been made, whether this is directly true or not.
Nonetheless, this is a matter that should not be approached lightly - will contests can frequently foster strife and infighting within families who are already mourning the loss of a loved one. This can permanently damage or alter family relationships.
When Can a Will be Contested in Moreno Valley, California?
There are various reasons that a Moreno Valley, California court might hold a will to be invalid.
For instance, a will which was not made under the testator's own volition and free will is not valid. This means that the testator must be acting voluntarily throughout the entire process of making his will. Thus, a will made under duress (force, or threat of force) will not be given effect. In order to show duress, you generally need to first prove that the person named in the will was in a position of trust and power over the decedent, and that they are an "unnatural beneficiary" (someone who you would not normally expect to receive a gift under a will, usually because they are not related to, or close friends with, the testator). These facts, taken alone, are never enough to definitively prove that duress occurred. They are, however, usually enough to suggest that something strange is going on, and warrant further investigation.
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 a Moreno Valley, California will is successfully challenged and thus invalidated, there has to be some system for orderly distribution of the decedent's property. Typically, 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 Moreno Valley, 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 Moreno Valley, California attorney, and the process will probably be much more manageable.
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Life in Moreno ValleyMoreno Valley sits in the Southwestern region of California near Riverside. As the second largest city in Riverside County, Moreno Valley plays host to the March Air Reserve Base and a number of its personnel. The base has been in and out of commission training pilots for the World Wars but has been very active since. It's also the top employer in Moreno Valley with over 9,000 employees. The other top employers include the Moreno Valley School District, Riverside County Regional Medical Center, and the expansive Moreno Valley Mall. The Moreno Valley Mall is home to some of the best shopping in Riverside County with a number of boutique and different designer stores.
The City of Moreno Valley is known for its diversity. After World War II a number of Central American and Latino groups moved to the area to take advantage of the available suburban housing. There are still a number of Mexican American shops catering to Latino immigrants. Additionally, the African American population in Moreno Valley has risen 15% since 2002 with more and more families seeking to get out of Los Angeles city limits. There are a number of Moreno Valley festivals like Cinco de Mayo.
Moreno Valley is a diverse community that also plays host to many knowledgeable lawyers who are familiar with Riverside County and California State courts and cases like criminal cases, divorce, personal injury, and wrongful termination lawsuits. Since residents come from so many different places, Moreno Valley lawyers are also well acquainted with U.S. Immigration Courts and procedures.