Resolve Your Probate Dispute Properly
The days, weeks, and months after a loved one passes away are an emotional time. Those feelings can be compounded when a family member, or other party, challenges the will or trust or asks that the estate administrator be replaced. Probate is more than a settling of financial accounts. It can affect relationships between relatives and potentially tear a family apart.
Whether you are challenging an invalid will or are serving as an estate administrator, you need advice and representation from an attorney who is an expert in complex estate litigation. That is the distinct level of service that we provide at Gorini & Gorini, LLP for residents of Santa Clara County. Founding attorney Richard Gorini is a certified expert in this legal area. He and, now, his sons, have helped thousands of clients resolve these highly personal disputes with compassion and dignity while still respecting their rights.
Reasons A Will Can Be Rejected
Most of the time, the probate judge accepts the will submitted by the executor with no controversy. But sometimes, a question arises over whether the decedent really intended the contents of the will to be their final wishes. California law states that a judge can invalidate a will if one or more of the following is proved:
- Undue influence: A will can only be valid if the testator signed it of their own free will. An older person with health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, may be vulnerable to undue influence from a third party, such as a relative or caregiver, to change their will to benefit that person. This can take the form of lies and manipulation, such as convincing the testator that their children do not love them.
- Duress: Similarly, a will is invalid if the testator only signed it because they were afraid for their life or safety. A physically frail person could be subjected to threats, false imprisonment, abuse or other tactics to get them to sign a will in the abuser’s favor.
- Fraud: If the testator was deceived about the will’s contents, the will is invalid. For example, someone could have presented the testator with a will to sign and, instead of letting them read it, convinced them that it said that their assets would be divided equally between their children when, in fact, the will named only the deceiver as the heir.
- Incapacity: Even if nobody is exerting undue influence or defrauding the testator, a will is invalid if the testator was not of sound mind when they signed it. They must be able to understand the terms of the will and the implications of executing it. Dementia, intoxication, and mental illness can affect capacity at the time of execution and invalidate the will.
Reach Out To Our Team For More Information
Our lawyers understand how to build a case based on the evidence. They will advise you of your rights and what to expect. Their proven strategies resolve estate litigation disputes both in and out of court. Contact us online or by calling 408-286-6314 to schedule a consultation at our San Jose office.