When a person drafts a will in California, he or she must exhibit his or her testamentary capacity. According to The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, this is the competency to create a will. It demonstrates that at the time the will was written the person was mentally sound. This is important later on when the person dies and the will is executed. Not showing testamentary capacity could mean a contested will and a long legal battle.
You've probably witnessed a will reading session either through the family or close friends. Either way, not all sessions attain a definitive agreement especially when some beneficiaries object to the last wishes of the decedent. While some conclude into a peaceful agreement, the former highlights the dire situation that needs adequate attention. Probate primarily refers to the valuation and distribution of a decedent's estate. Since most Wills remain unchallenged, this doesn't necessarily mean they are free from error. On the contrary, they can be subjected to intense scrutiny under the following circumstances:
The passing of a loved one can be difficult to handle, especially if it was someone to whom you were close. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional aspect of the loss, but it is quite possible that you will play a role in the management of the estate.
Raising a challenge to a will is a tall order. In fact, almost all wills go through probate without any snags. That's because the courts see the will as coming directly from the mouth of the decedent. Since they aren't here anymore to let their wishes be known, the will is considered the next closest thing. However, that doesn't mean that every will is 100 percent bulletproof. There are ways to challenge a will and get it voided completely or have a portion struck from it.
Whether you're going through the process of creating a will or a loved one has recently died, you may have some questions on your mind. For instance, what is probate? How does the probate process work? What happens if my loved one died without a will?
If you want to control your legacy after you're gone, keeping your will up to date is of the utmost importance. A lot can change in your life in the course of a few years, so taking a look at your heirs, beneficiaries and your other estate wishes from time to time is a great idea.
One common mistake Californians make is to assume a will is enough to avoid probate. But probate is actually required to administer most wills.
Inheriting property is more complicated than inheriting cash or an investment portfolio. There can be issues whether the property was a family home or a rental property that brought in income over the years.