San Diego Will Contest Attorney

San Diego Will Contest Attorney

The death of a family member or loved one can be made even more difficult if the contents of a will or trust are contested by the beneficiaries. Contesting a will can be particularly complex, therefore, you need a credible San Diego will contest lawyer to help determine the right course of action.

Problems with a decedent’s will can cause issues for various parties taking part in the estate. At Casiano Law Firm, our skilled California estate planning lawyer Attorney Vincent will provide you with the best chance of success when challenging a will or trust. Schedule a no-charge phone consultation with him today to discuss your case.


Why Do I Need a Will Contest Attorney in California?

Unfortunately, problems with carrying out a loved one’s final wishes are becoming increasingly common in the United States. When you are grieving, you do not deserve to have to deal with legal issues caused by someone else’s errors or misconduct. There is a lot at stake when a dispute arises regarding a will, trust, or estate matter. If you are engaged in the probate process and you believe there’s good reason to challenge the validity of a will, our competent San Diego will contest lawyer Attorney Vincent Casiano can help.

  • He understands the complexities of familial relationships and he will help you protect your rights and the wishes of your loved ones.
  • He has in-depth knowledge and understanding of California probate law and he’ll ensure that appropriate documentation and protocols are followed in your particular situation.
  • He represents all parties involved in enforcing wills in California including beneficiaries, heirs, intended beneficiaries, administrators, and creditors.
  • He has extensive experience in handling probate matters including estate administration, will contests, trust administration, beneficiary litigation, trust litigation, irrevocable trust modification and termination, conservatorships, and guardianship matters.

Attorney Vincent Casiano represents San Diego and Southern California clients in disputed or contested wills, trusts, or probate matters. Schedule a no-charge phone consultation with him today to learn more about your legal options.

What is a Will?

A will is an important estate planning document that expresses your final wishes as to how your estate assets will be distributed and your responsibilities satisfied when you die. You can also use a will to:

  • name guardians for children and their property
  • name an executor
  • decide how debts and taxes will be paid
  • serve as a backup to a living trust
  • provide for pets

While wills can serve as a powerful estate planning tool, they are only effective if they are properly created to suit the needs of each individual. A knowledgeable San Diego estate planning attorney can review all your options with you and establish a will in a manner that ensures your wishes will be honored.

What are the Grounds for Contesting a Will in California?

Before being administered, wills are often validated and authenticated in probate court to make sure they are true and valid expressions of the testators’ intent. However, some situations may raise suspicion surrounding wills. California probate law requires petitioners to have a legitimate reason to contest the document, and those reasons could include the following:

Fraud, Forgery, and Undue Influence

Contested wills can be the result of a suspicion of fraud, forgery, or undue influence used to coerce a testator into either creating the will or including certain provisions in the will. If someone was under “undue influence” when they wrote a will, it means that another person’s persuasion caused them to act or refrain from acting of their own free will.

Undue influence may exist if and when the testator was unusually vulnerable, perhaps due to old age, mental impairment, isolation, or emotional distress. However, an accusation of undue influence requires sufficient evidence to persuade the probate court of its existence.

Sometimes, a will is created through an act of fraud. It may have been written by a person other than the deceased, or an individual may have provided the testator with false information intended to sway their allocation of inheritances.

Multiple Wills

There is the possibility that an individual has more than one will. However, careless drafting often leads to confusion. In many cases, the courts will consider the new will to be the legal document. To avoid disputes, new wills must have a written statement that they are meant to take the place of any previous wills. Failure to do so can create grounds for a probate dispute over which estate plan should be legally enforced.

Lack of Testamentary Capacity

Testamentary capacity describes the mental state of an individual to make a will. Legally, anyone who is 18 or older can create a will. People younger than that are considered to lack the capacity to do so.

Challenging this presumption involves arguing that the testator was not of “sound mind” at the time the will was signed. When creating a will, an individual must:

  • knew what a will does and that they were making one
  • understood the extent and value of their estate assets
  • generally knew who would inherit their property (such as a spouse or children)

Violating California Law

California sets out multiple requirements for a valid will. If the will does not conform to these requirements, you can challenge it. A will must be written or typed and signed by the testator when two witnesses are present. In most states, the witnesses cannot be people who are named to inherit property under the will. The presence of witnesses helps ensure that the testator was of sound mind, was not pressured and that their signature is authentic.

How Long Do I Have to Contest a Will in California?

An action to contest a will cannot occur until the will is offered to be admitted to the court. Once someone files the will, the court can determine whether it is valid or not. Because of this, there is nothing to contest until the will is offered to the court and a petition to probate the will is filed.

The exact deadlines for challenging a will vary by state. A qualified San Diego will contest attorney can help you determine the applicable deadlines in your particular situation. Typically, you get a few months to challenge the will. Under Cal. Prob. Code § 8270, you may have up to 120 days after the will is admitted to probate.

Call a Trusted San Diego Will Contest Attorney Now!

Losing a loved one is a challenging and emotional time. If you’re named in their will or estate plan, you may have questions about your role or what you’re entitled to. Unfortunately, wills are not always drafted in a way that satisfies legal requirements. Sometimes, they are the product of outright manipulation and deception.

When someone who believes they are entitled to share in an estate or a family member disagrees with how estate property is being distributed, the likely result is probate litigation. If you are planning to challenge a will, it is in your best interests to seek legal advice from our seasoned San Diego probate litigation attorney at Casiano Law Firm.

Attorney Vincent understands that matters involving will contests are emotionally complex and challenging for many of his clients. He is an experienced probate litigator with a track record of success in cases involving disputes between family members, trustee or executor misconduct, contested wills, and other highly contentious probate matters. Schedule a no-charge phone consultation with his estate planning law firm today to help you protect your rights.

Need a Comprehensive Estate Plan & Strategic Estate Litigation Attorney?

With years of experience in Elder Law and Estate Planning, San Diego estate litigation attorney Vinny Casiano helps his clients understand the pros and cons of each strategy to make the best decision for themselves and their families. Finally, he assists his clients in carrying out whatever strategy they have decided is best for them.

Got Probate or Trust Concerns? Get Help NOW!

Whether your concern is about will or trust contests, fiduciaries, or complicated estate plans, San Diego probate and trust litigation attorney Vincent Casiano is here to help. Get high-quality and personalized legal solutions that will address your needs today!

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