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Do you have the right to challenge a will?

Challenging a will can be a very difficult and complicated process. In addition, it is not something everyone can do. Imagine that you are engaged in a disagreement over how to handle a relative's estate. Can you legitimately challenge the will? Can the other person? Before challenging a will, it is important to understand basic probate laws that dictate who can and cannot lodge a legal challenge.

Due to the complexities of the probate court, it is important to seek legal advice before challenging a decedent's estate. An experienced attorney in the Pleasanton area can help you take the necessary steps to challenge a will in court. Read further for more information on the people that can challenge a will.

Interested persons

Probate laws limit challenges to "interested persons." This means that only those with an interest in the will, such as heirs, offspring, spouses or anyone else that has a legal claim to or against the estate, is allowed to challenge a will. Furthermore, these people can only challenge a will for legitimate legal purposes. In order to launch a challenge, the individual must have standing. In other words, the person must be someone named in the will or someone that would inherit a portion of the estate if the court declares the will invalid.

Beneficiaries and heirs

Beneficiaries are those people named in a will that may or may not be relatives. While beneficiaries can include spouses, children, and other relatives, it can also include non-relatives such as charities or churches.

Heirs, which are normally named in a will, include individuals that would stand to inherit property if the decedent passed away without a valid will. Heirs can challenge a will if they are left out of it or if the estate is divided in a grossly uneven way.


Some people include a "no contest" clause in their wills. The clause usually has a negative effect on someone that attempts to challenge the will. For example, if you include a "no contest" clause in your will and one of your children contests it after your passing, that particular beneficiary might be immediately disinherited. However, the courts typically do not enforce these clauses, therefore even if one exists, someone might still be able to successfully submit a challenge.

If you are considering challenging a will, it is important to understand the probate laws in California.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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