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What to know about challenging a will

On Behalf of | Oct 29, 2021 | Concord Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog |

California law does allow you to contest a will if certain criteria have been met. For example, if you have reason to believe that the testator changed his or her will while under duress, a judge may invalidate it. It’s worth noting that you can only challenge a will if you have standing to do so.

What is standing?

Standing essentially means that you have been harmed by another person’s actions and wish to hold the person who caused the harm responsible for their actions. A person may also have standing if failing to hear a case might cause a person to suffer irreparable harm. In a probate case, you can only challenge a will if you have a legal right to acquire a part of a deceased person’s estate.

When can you contest a will?

Typically, a will is challenged based on the assertion that it was changed because of the undue influence of those close to the testator. However, it can also be challenged on the grounds that the testator didn’t have the mental capacity to understand what their words actually meant. Finally, a will can be contested if there is reason to believe that the document presented to the probate judge has been altered or tampered with. It’s important to note that you cannot challenge the terms of a will just because you don’t like them, and this is true even if you have standing to pursue a will contest.

Although challenging a will may come with a financial benefit, it could also harm relationships with family members. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that you’ll have standing to do so. Therefore, it’s a good idea to think carefully before deciding whether to pursue such a course of action.