San Francisco Will Dispute
Having a will in place when you die is no guarantee that your property will automatically be distributed precisely as stipulated. Every will must pass through the probate process before beneficiaries receive their inheritance. In addition to using estate assets to pay outstanding debt, the probate court also hears will disputes (also known as will contests), in which anyone can argue against the validity of the will. Once a will is declared invalid during a will dispute in San Francisco, it is thrown out, requiring the court to make all decisions on how assets are to be distributed.
Grounds for a San Francisco Will Contest
Under California law, proving any of the following grounds can invalidate a will:
- Fraud: If someone writes a will under someone else’s name, misrepresents him or herself to enable changes to an existing will, or performs any fraudulent act that affects the terms of the will, that will is invalid
- Lack of mental capacity: Valid grounds exist if it can be proved that the writer of the will had limited mental ability when the will was written and executed
- Duress: A will is invalid if the writer was forced or threatened to write or change the will by someone. Depending on the circumstances, the court may declare the will before the changes to be valid, throwing out only the changes
- Undue influence: Any portion of a will made when an individual was in a position to influence the writer of the will, such as might occur when a caregiver controls the last years of life, the terms of the will may be declared invalid
- Lack of testamentary intent: A will is invalid if it can be proven that the writer did not intend the document to be a will that reflects his or her true wishes
- Mistake: The court can invalidate or adjust any specifications within a will that are clearly the result of honest error to ensure a fair settlement of the estate
- Revocation: A will is invalid if it can be proven that the will was later revoked by the deceased
Seek Experienced Legal Counsel
Whether you want to contest a will in San Franciso or defend the provisions of a will, you need an attorney with litigation experience in probate proceedings. At Michael B. Bassi, A Law Corporation, our San Francisco trusts lawyers have experience handling a wide variety of trust, estate, and probate issues, including diligent litigation in will contests. To speak to one of our wills & probate attorneys in San Francisco and learn how we can successfully resolve your legal matter, contact Michael B. Bassi, A Law Corporation today.