After the passing of a loved one, emotions can certainly run high. You may want to reminisce about the good times you had with the person and smile, but you will likely also feel grief and contend with tears as you think about your future without that loved one. However, you may feel some comfort in knowing that your loved one left you something in his or her will.
Whether you anticipated the inheritance because you had discussed the matter with your loved one previously or simply because you are a close family member, you may have felt shocked when you received very little or even nothing at all. If this outcome runs counter to what your loved one had previously indicated as his or her wishes, you may have concerns that wrongdoing took place.
Issues during probate
The probate process is used to settle the final affairs of a deceased individual. If the person created a will, the executor must submit the document to the court for approval and then follow the instructions in the will when closing the estate. However, issues can arise during probate that make you and possibly other beneficiaries feel that something has gone awry. For example, if one person is heavily favored in the will over other family members or certain people have been left out entirely, something untoward may have happened.
Problems with a will
If something of concern has taken place, you may wonder whether someone committed wrongdoing in an effort to gain more benefit from your loved one’s estate. Unfortunately, any of the following problems could occur that lead to issues with a will:
- Undue influence: If a person is of an older age, has mental issues or is otherwise in a vulnerable position, it is possible for another person to unduly influence that individual’s decisions. Undue influence in terms of a will could mean that a person influenced a vulnerable individual to change his or her will to favor that person.
- Testamentary capacity: This capacity is having the ability to soundly make decisions when creating a will. If a person changed or created a will while living with severe dementia, while under the influence or while otherwise unable to make sound decisions, the will may not be valid.
- Fraud or forgery: In some cases, rather than influencing a person to change his or her will, another individual could create a fraudulent document and attempt to submit it to a California court.
These examples are only a few that could result in a will needing further review. If you believe that something unseemly resulted in you receiving nothing or less than what you expected, you will want to gain information on your legal options for contesting the will through probate litigation.