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Contesting a will

Challenging a will in court can be accomplished, but not for just any reason. Likewise, not every person has the legal standing to challenge the document. However, certain types of individuals are allowed this privilege in California.


A person who had been named as the executor of a prior will that was prepared by the testator can challenge the new will’s terms. The former executor must prove that the will is unfair or invalid, according to the state’s rules on probate litigation.

Close family members

A close relative of the testator, including a child or spouse, is allowed to contest a will. In most states, an immediate family member is entitled to a decedent’s estate if there is no will. If the decedent has no spouse or children, the next of kin, such as siblings, parents and other relatives, are eligible to challenge the will.


Any person named in a will has the right to contest the will. Beneficiaries often disagree with a reduced estate share. If a new will is made, a former beneficiary in the original will is eligible to file a claim.


Creditors have the right to contest a will if the testator owes significant debts. Banks, lenders and other financial institutions are qualified to file claims after proving that obligations exist. The probate process ensures that every creditor has time to file a claim and be compensated from the estate’s funds before distributing the remaining funds to the beneficiaries.