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Can I contest my parent’s California will?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

There can be valid reasons to contest a will here in the probate courts in California. In fact, wills can be contested by not just the children of the decedent and other beneficiaries, but by others who are considered “interested parties.”

That term is a bit of a misnomer that may be confusing. Simply because you are interested in contesting the will does not mean you can. You must have a legal interest in contesting the will — and that does not apply to the merely curious.

Which interested parties may contest a will?

In addition to the beneficiaries, creditors and those who have valid claims against the decedent’s estate or rights to the property they left behind have the right to contest a California will.

It should be noted, however, that simply being dissatisfied with the intentions of the testator regarding the disposition of their estate is not sufficient grounds to launch a will contest.

Act swiftly to contest a will

In the aftermath of a death, there can be elements of confusion mixed with the grief process. But by acting immediately after the will is read, you can preserve your right to intercede on legal grounds to the petition filed by the executor to probate the will.

But there is a 120-day window of opportunity to file a will contest even after it has been probated. Any petition filed to contest the will must list the objections and their legal grounds for doing so.

Will challenges have a high burden of proof

Testators have great latitude when drafting their wills. That is why California wills carry the presumption of validity until or unless any challenges meet or exceed the inherent high burden of proof set forth by law.

The first steps you need to take when contesting a will

If you believe you have grounds to contest your parent’s will, it is always prudent to learn more about the estate laws governing probate here in California.