When someone dies, their will is one of the most important documents that must be settled. This document dictates how the deceased’s property is to be distributed among their heirs. And if someone feels that they have not been given their fair share of the estate, the will can be contested. This is what is known as a will dispute. If there are any disputes about the will, these must be resolved in a court of law through a process called litigation. By understanding what litigation in a will entails and how it can affect the distribution of property, you can be better prepared to deal with this process if it arises in your family.
Common Reasons a Will Is Contested
Contesting a will can be a complicated and emotional process, but there are some common reasons why someone might choose to do so. These include:
- The will was not properly executed. For a will to be valid, it must be signed by the person making the will and two witnesses. If any of these steps are not followed, the will may be invalid and is defined as not being properly executed.
- The will is not fair. Some people contest a will because they feel that they have been given an unfair share of the estate. This could be because they were left out of the will altogether or because they received a smaller portion than they expected.
- The will is invalid. There are several reasons why a will might be considered invalid, and this could include the fact that the person who made the will was not of sound mind when they signed it or that the will was forged.
- Failure to update will after a significant life event. In some cases, a will may be valid when it is first created but becomes invalid after a significant life event, such as the death of a beneficiary. The will may need to be updated to reflect the new changes if this occurs.
- Multiple wills exist at the time of passing. In some cases, there may be multiple wills that exist at the time of death. This can create confusion about who is supposed to inherit what property. Contesting and voiding one of these wills can help clear up the confusion.
Litigation in a will can be a complex and drawn-out process, but it is important to understand what it is and how it can affect the distribution of property. By knowing what to expect, you can be better prepared to handle a will dispute if it arises in your family. If you are considering contesting a will, it is important to speak with an experienced lawyer who can help guide you through the process.
What Is the Process of Contesting a Will?
If you decide to contest a will, the first step is to file a petition with the court. This document lays out your case and explains why you believe the will should not be upheld. You will also need to provide evidence to support your claim.
Once the petition has been filed, the court will set a date for a hearing. At this hearing, both sides will present their case to the judge. The judge will then decide whether the will should be upheld or not. If you are not happy with the outcome of the hearing, you can choose to appeal the decision. This process will take you to a higher court, where a new judge will hear your case.
It is important to remember that contesting a will can be a long and complicated process. It is best to speak with an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate these waters to minimize the risk of any further conflict or costly mistakes.
Why Do I Need a Trust & Estate Law Attorney?
If you are deciding to contest a will, it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. Trust & estate law attorneys know everything there is to know about the process of contesting a will and can help you through every step of the way.
Common reasons people hire an attorney to contest a will include:
- They need guidance. Contesting a will can be a daunting task, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal process. An experienced attorney can help guide you through the process and make sure you are doing everything correctly. Without an attorney, you may miss important steps or make costly mistakes.
- The estate is complex. In some cases, the estate involved in a will dispute is quite complex. This can make it difficult for the average person to understand what is going on. An attorney will have the experience and knowledge needed to navigate these waters and protect your interests.
- Need assistance with evidence. To contest a will, you must provide evidence to support your case. A skilled attorney can help you quickly gather the evidence required and present it in a way that will make the most impact on the court.
- Negotiation assistance. In some cases, the parties involved in a will dispute can reach a resolution without going to court. An attorney can help you negotiate with the other party and reach an agreement that is in your best interests.
These are just a few reasons why it is helpful to have an attorney on your side if you are contesting a will. The value an attorney can provide in these situations cannot be underestimated.
Huber Fox: Representing Northern California Clients Contesting Wills
If you are considering contesting a will, the attorneys at Huber Fox can help. We have years of experience representing clients in will disputes and know what it takes to win. The entire process will be handled confidentially and professionally, so you can rest assured knowing your interests are always our top priority. We believe all wills should be fairly and accurately represented, and we are prepared to do so with each client we represent. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us online to get started.