When you create a will, you do so for two main reasons. Firstly, you want to be sure that your hard-earned assets will pass down to your intended heirs when your die. And secondly, you want to take the guesswork out of the equation and eliminate potential disputes that may arise regarding the inheritance of your assets.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a will to become the subject of a costly legal dispute. If a beneficiary, or someone not included in the will, is dissatisfied with the document, they may contest your will in court. If they succeed in their petition, the court might end up invalidating your will.
Here two are common reasons why your will can be challenged and invalidated in California.
Lack of testamentary capacity
California wills laws presume that anyone above the age of 18 years has the mental competence to create a valid will. Basically, testamentary capacity refers to the testator’s mental ability to understand the implications of creating a will, the extent of their assets as well as the reasons for designating specific individuals as their beneficiaries.
If it is established that your mental competence at the time of creating your will was hampered by a degenerating condition like dementia, then your will can be challenged. Likewise, if you were inebriated while signing your will, then someone can use cite this to question your testamentary capacity.
A will must be properly executed to be deemed valid in California. This means that your will must exist in writing. California does not recognize oral wills. Additionally, the will must be signed by the testator as well as two witnesses who are not mentioned in the will. A will that is not signed or witnessed can be challenged on grounds of fraud.
A will is one of the most important estate planning tools you can ever create. Find out how you can avoid costly pitfalls while creating your will.