What Evidence Do You Need To Contest A California Will?
A Will allows for the distribution of a decedent’s assets in the way they chose before their death. However, sometimes, it is necessary to contest a Will. In California, survivors can contest a Will under some circumstances. Some grounds for contesting a Will in California include undue influence, fraud, lack of testamentary capacity, forgery, and lack of due execution.
You must gather evidence to support your case if you have a valid reason for contesting your deceased loved one’s Will and are considering filing a Will contest. Whether or not the court decides to invalidate the Will depends on the evidence you present. So, you need to gather strong evidence if you want to have any chance of convincing the court to invalidate your loved one’s Will.
Evidence That Can Help You Prove That a Will Is Invalid
The evidence you need to contest your loved one’s Will depends on the grounds for contesting the Will. A qualified probate attorney can assess your case and help you determine the specific evidence you need to prove your case.
That said, the following are some pieces of evidence that can be helpful during a Will contest:
One of the critical pieces of evidence that can prove invaluable during a Will contest is witness statements. Any person who was present when your loved one was drafting their Will or who knew your loved one before they drafted their Will can help prove that the Will is invalid.
The following are examples of people who can be useful witnesses;
- People who witnessed your loved one sign the Will
- The lawyer or lawyers who drafted the Will
- People who were taking care of your loved one before and at the time the Will was made
- People who can attest to your loved one’s state of mind during the signing of the Will.
- People who can give evidence about your loved one’s intentions regarding their estate.
There may be documents that your deceased loved one left behind that indicate something that contradicts what is written in their Will. If you can find such documents, they could be a beneficial set of evidence. Such documents can help show the court your loved one’s true intentions. For example, a diary written by your loved one could have useful information. A diary could reveal your loved one’s state of mind when they wrote the Will. It could also indicate if someone was pressuring your loved one while writing the Will.
If you are seeking to contest your loved one’s Will on the ground that they lacked testamentary capacity, medical evidence, such as doctor’s notes, can come in handy. For example, doctor’s notes can help prove whether your deceased loved one was in sound mind or suffering from an illness/condition at the time they made the Will and the extent of the illness or condition.
Contact The Probate Guy for Legal Help
If you need help contesting the validity of a deceased loved one’s Will, contact the dedicated California probate attorney, Robert L. Cohen – The Probate Guy – today to schedule a telephonic consultation.