Will & Trust Contests
Trust, estate, and probate litigation is a specialized area of law. To successfully navigate this area, an attorney must have an in-depth knowledge of trusts, wills, estates, and probate, as well as an in-depth understanding of the complex litigation rules in California (including motion practice, discovery, and trial). It is the combination of expertise in these areas that sets the attorneys at Temmerman, Cilley & Kohlmann, LLP apart. We have extensive experience litigating probate and trust cases generally and WILL contests in particular.
A WILL contest is a challenge to the validity of a WILL. These challenges are made by potential beneficiaries and heirs attempting to invalidate an existing WILL. Under the California Probate Code, any “interested party” may contest a WILL. An interested party is any person who has a pecuniary (financial) interest in the WILL that would be defeated or impaired if the WILL were determined to be valid.
The California Probate Code requires that the challenge to the validity of a WILL must be made in the Probate Court within a specified time from either: (1) the notice of death, or (2) the petition to admit the WILL to probate. If you are interested in challenging or supporting the validity of a WILL, you should contact an attorney at Temmerman, Cilley & Kohlmann, LLP as soon as possible to assist in determining these time frames, as late claims may not be heard by the Court.
If the Probate Court determines that a WILL is invalid, the court may: (1) invalidate the entire WILL and distribute the estate under the laws of intestacy (as if no WILL existed), or (2) invalidate only the challenged provisions of the WILL.
A WILL contest may be made for a variety of reasons. Legal grounds for a WILL contest include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Improperly drawn, witnessed or executed documents;
- Lack of capacity;
- Fraud, duress, force or undue influence;
- Misrepresentation; and/or
The law offices of Temmerman, Cilley & Kohlmann, LLP are well versed in California WILL contests, laws, and procedures. If you have any questions regarding WILL contests, call our San Jose office at 408-290-7210, our Danville office at 925-233-4399 or contact Temmerman, Cilley & Kohlmann LLP online today.