Contested Wills in Oxnard, California

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Oxnard, CA

In Oxnard, California, there is a procedure through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is identified 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 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 directly true or not.

However, 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 Oxnard, California?

Courts in Oxnard, 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.

One big reason to invalidate a will is the fact that the will was made under duress. "Duress" simply means forcing somebody to do something they don't want to, using some kind of threat. Typically, the threat involves some type of physical harm. The most obvious example would involve putting a gun to somebody's head and telling them to write a will containing the terms desired by the gunman. Such a will, assuming the underlying facts can be proven in court, will never be valid. Of course, the validity of a will rarely becomes an issue until the testator has died, which may be years after the will was drafted. This means that proving the circumstances under which the will was made can often be very difficult. However, there are certain facts, such as the devise being to an "unnatural" beneficiary (somebody the testator didn't know very well, for instance), and the beneficiary being in a position of power over the decedent, are enough to at least create a suspicion that something is wrong.

Because a testator must know what they are doing in order to write a valid will, the testator must be of sound mind at the time the will is made. Basically, if a person is unaware of what they're doing, and the consequences of their actions, they can't make a valid will. This can be due to mental illness, or intoxication. Of course, if it's a result of intoxication, the testator can simply sober up and then make a perfectly valid will.

If you successfully contest the will in Oxnard, 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 typically happen during a person's life. Typically, 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 Oxnard, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

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

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

Life in Oxnard

Oxnard may not be a household name throughout America but it plays a major role in California's international trade, manufacturing, defense, and agricultural economies. Oxnard is the key port for Del Monte Foods, Chiquita, Land Rover, BMW, and Jaguar shipments to the west coast. It's the deepest port between San Francisco and San Diego.

The city also has strong ties to agriculture and civil rights as the childhood home of Caesar Chavez and annual California Strawberry Festival. The USDA ranked Oxnard as one of the preeminent strawberry producers in California supplying over 1/3 of all California strawberries.

The top employers in Oxnard are currently St. John's Regional Medical Center, Oxnard Union High School District, and Waterway Plastics that collectively employ over 5,000 Oxnard locals.

Tourism helps boost the Oxnard economy as well. Tourists flock to Oxnard's renown soft sand beaches that are also known for being much less crowded than other hotspots. The Oxnard Public Beaches offer accommodations like palm tree lined walkways, picnic, and barbeque areas. The Carnegie Art Museum, founded by the famous Andrew Carnegie in 1907, displays over 1,500 pieces from Southern California artists and other influential Americans like Colin Campbell Cooper and Millard Sheets. The Chandler Vintage Museum of Transportation and Wildlife is another popular Oxnard museum neat Heritage Square that locals and tourists enjoy visiting.

If you live in Oxnard, California and need an attorney, you're in luck. Oxnard, California lawyers are members of a very diverse and sophisticated legal community. If you have any legal issues, an Oxnard, California lawyer can help.

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