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Is contesting a will worthwhile?

Torrance Probate and Estate Planning Attorney

Is contesting a will worthwhile?

If a loved one has recently passed away, you may have already learned about the contents of their will. If you were shocked to find out that you were not named as a beneficiary or if the contents of the will were otherwise unexpected, you may be wondering if your loved one was influenced or manipulated in some way.

If you do believe that the will should not be accepted in its current form, you may want to take action in California to challenge the will. However, challenging a will can be a very stressful process to go through, especially when you are grieving, and it is not always successful. It is always wise to consider whether initiating the process of challenging a will is likely to be worthwhile. The following are some key factors to consider.

Do you have standing in contesting the will?

Not everyone has the legal ability to contest a will. If this were the case, celebrity estates might see hundreds of fans challenging their estate, for example. You will need to establish whether you have legal standing. This means that you need to be either a named beneficiary in one of the wills or an intestate heir (a direct family member).

Do you have grounds to contest the will?

You may feel emotionally affected by the contents of the will, but this does not mean that you will necessarily be successful in contesting it. You will need to have sufficient grounds, which can be challenging.

Generally speaking, there are four grounds. These are a lack of mental capacity, fraud, undue influence and an improper signing of the will. Proving any one of these can be difficult, and this is why you should prepare for a lengthy and complex process.

Are you emotionally prepared?

Losing a loved one is a very difficult time in a person’s life, and it can take a long time to heal. Learning that you are not mentioned in your loved one’s will can also be very upsetting. This is why you should consider whether you are willing to endure what can lead to further emotional turmoil.

Taking swift action in starting the process to challenge a will can lead to a greater chance of success.