Objecting To A Petition For Probate
After someone dies, their estate might need to go through probate. In a probate case, the court validates the Will (if one exists). Also, a personal representative is appointed to, among other things, collect estate assets, pay debts and expenses, and distribute the remaining assets to beneficiaries or heirs. If there is a Will, assets are distributed according to the terms of the Will to beneficiaries. On the other hand, if there is no Will, assets are distributed according to the laws of intestate succession to heirs.
In California, after someone dies, the named executor, any relative of the decedent, or any named beneficiary can initiate probate proceedings by filing a petition for probate. Because probate is a public process, after a probate petition is filed, any interested party who objects to the probate petition can voice that objection. Below, we discuss some reasons for objecting to a petition for probate, how to file an objection to a probate petition, and whether or not you need an attorney to object to a petition for probate.
Reasons for Objecting to a Petition for Probate
The first reason to object to a petition for probate is if you believe something is wrong with the Will. Some common reasons to object to a Will include fraud, forgery, mistake, lack of testamentary intent, lack of testamentary capacity, duress, and undue influence.
Another reason for filing an objection to a petition for probate is if you want to object to the appointment of the proposed personal representative. You can object to a petition for probate if you believe the individual seeking to be appointed as the personal representative lacks the integrity or qualification to serve in that position. For instance, perhaps the individual seeking to be appointed as the personal representative has been deceitful in the past. You can also file an objection if the individual seeking to be appointed as the personal representative does not have the legal standing to petition to be appointed as the personal representative.
Lastly, you can file an objection to a petition for probate if you want to contest the validity of a codicil. A codicil is a legal document that changes or revokes some or all the provisions in a Will. Some common reasons to contest a codicil include lack of testamentary capacity, duress, fraud, forgery, undue influence, and lack of testamentary intent. Generally, the reasons for contesting a codicil are the same as those for contesting a Will.
Filing an Objection to a Probate Petition
To file an objection to a probate petition, you need to submit an Objection of Probate Petition to the probate court that received the probate petition. And to do this, you must follow the filing rules for that particular court.
Do You Need an Attorney to Object to a Petition for Probate?
You are not required to hire an attorney to object to a petition for probate. However, it is best that you hire an attorney. Objecting to a petition for probate involves technicalities and can be a tough process. If, for example, you file an objection because you believe the Will is invalid, you will need to prove that it is indeed invalid. In such a case, it is crucial that you work with a probate attorney with experience handling such cases.
Contact the Probate Guy for Legal Help
If you believe you have grounds for objecting to a petition for probate, contact the dedicated California probate attorney, Robert L. Cohen – The Probate Guy – today to schedule a telephonic consultation.
Southern California Probate Lawyer Serving Orange, Riverside, Anaheim, Whittier & Beyond.