Contested Wills in Oakland, California

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In Oakland, 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 several 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 particularly 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 really true or not.

However, this is a matter that should not be approached lightly - will contests can commonly 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 Oakland, California?

Courts in Oakland, California will not let a person contest a will unless they have an excellent reason. There are, however, some allegations which will always invalidate a will, if they are proven.

For example, 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. However, 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 rejected 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 example) at the time the will was made, the will can still be invalidated.

There are many other facts that might make a will invalid, and thus serve as grounds to contest a will. If a will is successfully contested in Oakland, California, and held to be invalid, this normally results in the property being distributed as if the decedent had died intestate (without a will). This means that it will usually go to the decedent's closest living relative.

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Can a Oakland, 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 Oakland, California can be very helpful in making sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible.

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Life in Oakland

Oakland is a San Francisco Bay Area city and major West Coast port. During the 1940s the Port of Oakland provided a bustling war industry that attracted many residents from the Deep South who were looking for work. Oakland home to seven major companies who are also major local employers: Kaiser Permanente, Clorox, Dreyer's, Cost Plus, Ask.com, and Pandora Radio to name a few. Oakland is also home to the Oakland International Airport, a major United States Postal Service center, FedEx, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Southwest Airline who each employ over 4,000 employees. Some San Francisco and Silicon Valley professionals opt to live in Oakland because the cost of living is much lower and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) options make it cheap to commute. Drivers use the Bay Bridge for nearest access to the peninsula.

Oakland is one of the most Diverse Alameda County cities with annual parades and celebrations. Some of that diversity can be attributed to the major universities and colleges in Oakland. California College of the Arts, Mills college, Holy Names University, Patten University, and University of California Berkeley all have installations in Oakland. Historic attractions like Jack London Square, Oakland Zoo, Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, the USS Potomac (President Roosevelt's Yacht), and the famous Fox Theater draw visitors from near and far.

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