Contesting a Will in California - Limited Opportunity to Contest the Validity of a Will

Estate litigation and inheritance disputes in California often involve will disputes, contests of a will being deemed admitted to probate, and revocation of a will after it is admitted to probate.  In California, a person with standing to contest a will or object to the will being deemed admitted to probate is provided a limited opportunity to contest a will and/or object to it being admitted to probate.  A person with standing who is noticed of the probate of a will in California may contest the will on limited grounds.  Those are outlined in Probate Code sections 8004 and 8250.  The procedural requirements are also very specific.  A contestant is required by law to obtain a summons that is issued and served with a copy of the objection to probate of the will and also with a notice of hearing of the a petition to for administration of the decedent's estate.  The notice requirements for doing so are statutory.

Thereafter, if the contestant or objector loses or fails to win in preventing the will from being deemed admitted to probate then that party is not entitled to contest the will after it has been deemed admitted to probate.  Under Probate Code section 8270(a) any interested person other than a party to a will contest and other than a person who had actual notice of a will contest in time to have joined the contest may petition to revoke the probate of the will.

In other words, in such will disputes, if a person is properly noticed of a petition to probate a will then that person is limited to statutory timelines and laws in contesting the will.  If that party loses the contest they are barred from later petitioning to revoke the probate of the will after it has been deemed admitted to probate.

If you have questions about your rights or those of a loved one or friend concerning an inheritance dispute or contest, then you should immediately contact a licensed attorney to advise you.