Contested Wills in San Luis Obispo, California

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in San Luis Obispo, CA

In San Luis Obispo, 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.

Like any legal matter, however, this should not be taken lightly. Will contests can foster conflict and strife within families who are already mourning a loved one. This can cause grave and irreversible damage to family relationships.

When Can a Will be Contested in San Luis Obispo, California?

Courts in San Luis Obispo, California will not let a person contest a will unless they have an excellent reason. There are, nonetheless, 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.

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 the contest is successful, a court in San Luis Obispo, California might find the will or part of it invalid. Of course, that leaves the question of how to distribute the property in the absence of a valid will. All states have laws that address this situation, typically passing the property to the decedent's closest living kin. All states have laws governing the order in which property is passed on in this manner. Normally, it goes to the spouse first. If there is no living spouse, it goes to the children. If there are no children, it goes to the decedent's parents, and so on. Most laws on this subject are written in such a way that almost everyone will have at least one relative entitled to inherit, even if that person is very distantly related to the decedent. In the very rare case where no living relatives exist, or none can be found, the decedent's assets usually go to the state.

Can a San Luis Obispo, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will can be a convoluted, emotional, expensive, and time-consuming process. There is really no way around this. However, a reliable San Luis Obispo, California wills and estates attorney can minimize these problems, and make the process as painless as possible.

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

Life in San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, California is a city in San Luis Obispo County. It is the county seat of, and largest city in, San Luis Obispo County. It has a population of about 42,000, as of a 2006 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is located on California's central coast, almost exactly midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

San Luis Obispo is home to the California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo, which iscommonly referred to as "Cal Poly" or "Cal Poly SLO." Many of its degree programs, particularly argiculture, engineering, and architecture, are consistently ranked among the best in the United States.

Thanks to the presence of a large, nationally-renowned university, San Luis Obispo definitely has a "college town" feel to it. And its proximity to the ocean, and the mountains further inland, provide a wealth of outdoor recreational activities. The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is located on the outskirts of San Luis Obispo provides most of the electric power for the area, and is also a major employer for professionals in a wide range of fields, particularly engineers. This power plant creates several thousand well-paying jobs, and is crucial to the local economy.

If you live in San Luis Obispo, California and need an attorney, you should be able to find one. There's almost certainly a San Luis Obispo, California lawyer who can help you with whatever legal issue you might have.

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