California residents who are left out of the will of a family member may find themselves distraught. Whether you were told you would be included in the will or it was just assumed that you would be, it can be a surprise to find out that you weren’t. It’s important to assess your individual situation to determine whether or not it’s in your best interest to contest the will.
Assess your standing
Probate courts have strict standards for who is authorized to contest a will. If you’re not a direct family member to the deceased and you’ve never been mentioned in one of their previous wills, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to have standing in your state to contest the will. Most states specify that in order to contest a will, the person needs to have a financial interest in the will, to begin with.
Assess the legal costs
Apart from assessing whether or not you have the grounds to contest a will, you should also consider the cost. In order to contest the will, you’ll want to hire a lawyer who is familiar with this type of litigation. You should sit down and establish what you believe the dollar value of the deceased person’s estate is to determine whether or not what you would be awarded if you won that contest would be well above what you pay an attorney to represent you for the case.
It’s never a good idea to rush to try to contest a will. Rather, it’s essential to sit down and determine whether or not you actually have standing and if it will make financial sense for you to do so. In the event that it does, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney.