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California Probate, Will & Trust Lawyer > Blog > Probate > Can I Contest My Parent’s Will?

Can I Contest My Parent’s Will?


Coping with losing a parent can be difficult, and the situation can worsen if you believe your parent’s Will is invalid. You have the right to contest your deceased parent’s Will and have it invalidated. In fact, children contesting their parents’ Wills is a lot more common than you think. However, you cannot challenge the Will simply because you don’t like what is written in the Will. For example, you cannot contest your parent’s Will simply because you are dissatisfied with the inheritance you did or did not receive. To successfully contest your parent’s Will and have any chance of having the Will invalidated, you will need to establish a legally valid ground for the contest.

How To Know if You Have a Valid Reason for Contesting Your Parent’s Will

There are limited circumstances when you are allowed to contest a California Will, including your parent’s Will. Determining if you have a valid reason for contesting your parent’s Will should be done with the help of a qualified probate attorney.

Time limitations are involved in contesting a California Will, so make sure you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible to determine if you have a valid reason for contesting your parent’s Will. For example, after probate has been opened, you have only 120 days to file an objection with the probate court.

Can I Contest My Parent’s Will if There Is a No-contest Clause in the Will?

California is one of the states that enforce no-contest clauses. A no-contest clause is a provision in a Will that, if enforced, would penalize an interested party for filing an objection in court. However, the law makes no-contest clauses hard to implement. What you need to understand about no-contest clauses is that, according to the law, the enforcement of such clauses is limited to three situations;

  1. A direct contest that lacks probable cause.
  2. A pleading to challenge the transfer of assets on the grounds that the assets did not belong to the transferor when the transfer happened
  3. The filing or prosecution of a creditor’s claim

Therefore, if you have probable cause to contest your parent’s Will, the no-contest clause will likely not be enforced.

Because of the complexity of the issue of no-contest clauses, it is best to allow an attorney to examine your unique case and advise you accordingly. Otherwise, you might unintentionally trigger the no-contest clause.

Common Valid Reasons for Contesting a Will in California

A qualified probate attorney can help you determine if you have a valid reason for contesting your parent’s Will. An attorney will discuss with you the valid reasons for contesting a California Will, which include;

  • Undue influence
  • Fraud
  • Lack of testamentary capacity
  • Duress

After an attorney determines you have a valid reason for contesting your parent’s Will and you decide to proceed with your contest, they will help you determine the best option for your objectives and situation.

Contact The Probate Guy for Legal Help

If you need help determining if you can contest your parent’s California Will, contact the skilled and dedicated California probate attorney, Robert L. Cohen – The Probate Guy – today to schedule a free telephonic consultation.

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I love being a probate attorney. I love helping people through a very difficult time in their lives with the probate process. My practice focuses solely on probate matters. My job is to complete the probate process as efficiently and painlessly for my clients as possible. I have found that paying the upfront costs of probate adds unneeded stress, so I will advance all of the fees and costs for the probate. No money is required to complete the probate. I will be reimbursed at the end of the case when you receive your inheritance. Call me NOW to discuss your case for free.

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