Providing Expert Legal Representation in Southern California
Probate is a complex legal process that often involves filing documents with the court and attending court hearings. As your trusted California probate litigation lawyer, I am here to take care of these matters on your behalf. You won’t have to worry about going to court; I will handle all the necessary proceedings. Reach out to me now for a complimentary consultation.
Probate is primarily an administrative process, but disputes can arise during the probate proceedings. As an heir to the estate, you may have concerns about the validity of the will and believe that it should not be enforced as written. In such cases, initiating litigation with the court becomes necessary, and a judge will make a decision on how to proceed. As your probate attorney, I can handle your litigation case on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t have to pay any upfront fees; instead, my fee will be based on the amount I recover for you at the end of the case. While I am selective about the litigation cases I take on, I am always happy to meet with you, address your concerns, and offer advice on your best course of action.
Understanding the Reasons for Probate Litigation in California
Challenging Undue Influence
It is not uncommon for an elderly person to be under the care of a family member or professional caregiver who becomes very close to them. During this time, the person may create or modify a will in a way that favors the caregiver or family member involved. While it is understandable to appreciate the care and companionship provided in their final days, a generous gift to one individual could potentially reduce the inheritance for others. In such cases, it is possible that undue influence or pressure was exerted on the person, leading to a will that does not accurately reflect their true wishes. Challenging and potentially voiding a will based on undue influence can be a complex matter, but it is a common cause of probate litigation. If you suspect that undue influence was used to gain an advantage in the estate, I can assist you in challenging the will. Without a valid will, your inheritance will be determined according to California laws known as “intestate succession,” which divides the estate equally among the children.
Uncovering Fraudulent Behavior
Similar to cases involving undue influence, you may suspect that another person deceived the deceased into changing the will. Unfortunately, there are individuals who take advantage of older or vulnerable people, manipulating and confusing them to benefit themselves at the expense of true heirs. If you believe that fraud played a role in the estate, it is essential to take appropriate legal action.
Invalid Wills and the Need for Legal Intervention
The purpose of probate is to validate and implement a will’s terms. To be deemed valid, a will must adhere to strict legal procedures, such as being in writing, signed by the testator in the presence of witnesses, and so on. Any modifications to a will must also follow specific guidelines. In some cases, a will may not have been valid from the beginning, while in others, changes made to the will may not be legally effective. This can lead to confusion when multiple wills are submitted for probate, necessitating court intervention to determine which will, if any, is the correct one. If you believe that an invalid will is affecting your inheritance, I can help you fight for your rights and ensure that you receive what is rightfully yours, whether through the correct will or intestate succession if no valid will exists.
Lack of Capacity and its Impact on Probate
To create a will in California, the testator must be at least 18 years old and of “sound mind.” Being of sound mind involves understanding the act of making a will, the value of the estate, and the consequences of disposing of the estate through the will. If a person lacks the required mental capacity due to conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, any will they create, modify, or revoke will be deemed invalid under California law.
Challenging the Executor’s Actions
The executor of an estate holds significant responsibilities, including creating an inventory of assets, notifying creditors, settling claims and taxes, and ensuring that the heirs receive their rightful inheritance. The executor is entrusted with fiduciary duties to act in the best interests of the estate. However, there are cases where the executor’s actions may come into question. For example, if the executor is also an heir, they may have sold estate property in a way that unfairly benefits themselves at the expense of other heirs. If you suspect any impropriety on the part of the executor, I encourage you to contact me for a free consultation.
Consult with The Probate Guy for Your California Probate Concerns
If you have any concerns about the validity of a will or other estate documents during the probate process, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I can provide you with expert advice on whether litigation is necessary to protect your rights and inheritance. Remember, the initial consultation is always free, and if I take on your case, I will cover all the litigation costs upfront. You will only pay a fee if I am successful in recovering money for you. Call me now to schedule your complimentary consultation.