Probated wills in California sometimes result in interested parties – heirs, beneficiaries, loved ones, charitable foundations, close friends and more – being ecstatic with the outcome. That happy state of affairs generally means that expectations were realized or even exceeded. Sometimes, too, completely unexpected benefits materialize.
Of course, that is not always the case. Life routinely augments upsides with disappointment, a reality that is often underscored in estate planning matters.
Especially those involving wills. The details concerning a grantor’s intent can render some recipients ecstatic. Conversely, and as underscored in a recent online overview of will contest considerations, they can “throw some survivors for a loop.”
If you perchance to be one of those less-than-happy people (specifically, an individual who was unexpectedly left out of a will), you might reasonably – and in a timely manner – want to consider making a formal challenge.
In estate planning parlance, that means contesting the outcome of a will.
Maybe – just maybe – there was something wrong linked with will execution or adjustment. The above-cited article underscores possibilities that include coercion/undue influence and a testator’s diminished mental acuity. The estate planning realm, moreover, is far from devoid of instances involving material fraud engineered by one or more third parties.
Such things must be more than merely alleged by a claimant seeking will inclusion, though. They must be sufficiently demonstrated to a court. That can be relatively easy to do in select cases, while proving to be an insurmountable hurdle in others.
A logical first step to take for a party considering a will challenge is to timely communicate with a proven estate planning attorney. The aforementioned overview stresses that knowledgeable legal counsel can help a client realistically assess the chances “of getting a will invalidated and other alternatives that may exist.”