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What You Should Know Before You Challenge a Will

12/14/2022 | Heirs & Beneficiaries

At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo in California, we realize that sometimes a will challenge is the proper thing for you to do. We also realize, however, that to win a will challenge, you must not only be an “interested party,” you must also allege the proper grounds. You cannot challenge a will simply because you believe the decedent should have named you in his or her will but failed to do so. In addition, you should know that the vast majority of will challenges fail, and your chances of prevailing in one are quite low.

In California, only an interested party may mount a will challenge. This means that the deceased person must have been one of your family members or that you had some other valid reason for expecting to inherit from him or her.

Valid grounds

In addition to being an interested party, you also must challenge the will on valid grounds, such as one of the following:

  • That the decedent’s mental capacity was such that they failed to understand the nature of his or her property or who his or expected heirs were
  • That the decedent made a valid will prior to the one you challenge that named you as one of his or her heirs
  • That the decedent was under someone’s undue influence at the time (s)he made the will you are challenging
  • That the decedent made the will you are challenging while under coercion or duress
  • That the decedent made the will you are challenging as the result of fraud by someone
  • That the decedent made an error during the execution of the will you are challenging, such as by failing to get it properly witnessed or notarized

For more information, please visit this page of our website.