After the death of a prominent member of the family, emotions run high. Apart from grief and sadness felt by family and friends, the person’s disappearance often changes the structure and cohesion of the surviving relatives, businesses, and estate.
If this was not enough, the decedent’s instructions may not please all those concerned. In the emotional climate, this may provoke passionate reactions, which lead to contests and litigation that often need to be settled in court.
What kind of Will Contest topics might come up?
- Questions regarding undue influence by someone over the Will’s creator
- Claims that the Will’s author was not in full possession of his or her mental capacities at the time of writing and signing
- Charges of defects in the way the Will was written, signed, and witnessed
- Allegations that the Will filed with the probate court is not the final version
- Accusations of executor misconduct, mismanagement, or fraud
- Disagreements over the family business disposition plans
Approximately the same type of problems may arise and lead to Trust Litigation.
In the best circumstances, the California probate process may be expected to take approximately one year. Because of this, many people try to avoid probate using different means allowed by law, such as bringing most assets in joint tenancy ownership, designating beneficiaries on insurance contracts, etc.
In case of disagreement and contests, not only does probate become necessary – even for small estates – but litigation in court is likely to take a very long time before the succession process is finalized. Unfortunately, the court and lawyer fees are likely to bite deeply into the estate’s value.
If you have a feeling that the decedent’s instructions are being contested, ask for the advice of an experienced California probate lawyer who will guide you towards the best solution.
Talk to San Diego estate planning and probate attorney Scott Grossman about your situation and any questions you might have. Call us at (951) 683-3704 or (866) 840-0000 for your FREE 30-minute telephone consultation, and order our FREE book The Insider’s Guide to California Probate and Trust Administration.
AttorneyThe Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307