At Solan, Park & Robello, we constantly advocate for the importance of estate planning. All adults should have a plan for what will happen when they die or become incapacitated. Who will make important decisions in your place? Where will your assets go? Who will be in charge of ensuring your wishes are carried out? These are all questions that need answers sooner rather than later.
Putting together an estate plan allows you to answer these and other important life-planning questions, but some people may not agree with those answers. An estate can be contested by certain parties, but only by parties who actually have a direct interest in the estate. A random individual off the street cannot just decide to contest an estate they have no direct interest in.
So, who are the parties who have a direct interest and can actually contest an estate in California?
Organizations, businesses, and individuals who are able to verify that the decadent owes them money that does not dissolve at death are able to contest an estate during the probate process. There will be a window in the execution of the estate where creditors are notified and given the opportunity to respond.
Creditors will be able to claim the debts they are owed directly from the estate. This means the executor and beneficiaries will not have a personal responsibility to pay the debts unless the estate has insufficient funds to do so and those parties can be legally held responsible for the debts.
Family members who have a legal reason to contest a will can come forward and make their claim during the probate process. These individuals are permitted to make a claim to specific assets or even claim that the will itself is invalid due to certain reasons like undue influence or forgery.
It’s important to note that family members do not automatically have a right to contest a will, however. Family members who are named in the will or would inherit assets through the estate if the will were to be deemed invalid by the court are able to contest the will. This prevents family members who have not been in contact with the individual from appearing on the scene to file an invalid claim.
Individuals Named In Current or Previous Estate Documents
Anyone whose name appears in the current version of the will can contest other aspects of the will as long as they have legal grounds to do so. The same applies to individuals who were named in previous estate planning documents but were later removed. Those individuals may be able to claim that they were removed for illegal or undue reasons.
Any legal contestation of an estate must be addressed and resolved before the estate can be executed. It’s important to work with a legal team who understands these situations and has experience working through probate litigation. At Solan, Park & Robello, we care for your future and want to ensure your best wishes are honored and carried out. Contact our team and make sure your estate plan is protected against these claims.
Solan, Park & Robello
Latest posts by Solan, Park & Robello (see all)
- Who Has The Right To Contest An Estate? - March 13, 2023