2011: San Diego Will Contest

In San Diego, many persons will die in San Diego without a revocable living trust but have a will. A will contest is litigated in the San Diego Probate Courts. Will contests are very complicated and technical. If you are considering contesting a will, please feel free to contact us so you can discuss your individual situation. Below is not a complete recitation of will contest procedures or law and is for this article.

First, if it is your intention to contest a will, there are strict limitations on when you can contest. If you miss these deadlines, you cannot contest even if you have a valid claim. In San Diego, the law is contained in the California Probate Code. In order to contest a will, the will has to be admitted for probate. The Probate Court’s in San Diego are located downtown at the Madge Bradley Court House and in north county at the Vista Regional Center.

Second, always consult an attorney before contesting a will. The requirements as complex and there can be ramifications. If the will has a “no contest” clause, then filing a will contest may result in no distributions to the one contesting. As such, make sure to bring a complete copy of the will when you meet with the attorney so that an informed opinion can be given.

Third, in order to contest a will in San Diego, you will need to meet the legal requirement called “standing”. In order to have standing, you must meet the pre requisites and either be a devisee named in the decedent’s will or be an heir which would mean you would have inherited property from the deceased under the laws of intestacy.

Fourth, if you can meet the legal requirements of standing, there are other legal issues which require legal grounds [legal basis] in order to contest the will. These can include the following: the testator revoked the will prior to passing away; there was fraud and/or forgery in the making of the will; a child or spouse was omitted from the will; when the will was executed the legal formalities were not complied with; duress or undue influence on the testator and the testator lacked capacity or competency to prepare the will. All of these can be very technical and this is not a complete list.

In conclusion, prior to contesting a will, make sure to consult with an experienced and licensed attorney.

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