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Am I entitled to proceeds from the estate regardless of the will?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2018 | Probate |

When a loved one dies, it can be confusing and stressful to find out that they did not mention you in their will. As a close family member, e.g., a spouse or a child, you may qualify as an heir-at-law. This means that you may be able to inherit from their estate even if they do not mention you in their will or if they did not create a will at all.

However, just because you are considered an heir-at-law, it does not automatically mean that you will be entitled to anything, especially when your loved one has written a will without mentioning you. If you do wish to pursue claiming inheritance in this case, you will need to go through the process of contesting the will.

Contesting the will as an heir-at-law

You are only able to contest a will if you have legal standing to do so. This means that the law prevents members of the public from contesting a will. You will likely have legal standing if you are a child of the deceased person and were not mentioned in the will but your two siblings were named as beneficiaries.

In order to successfully contest a will, you must be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased person did not intentionally omit you from the will, but that it was done because of one of several reasons. This could be that the deceased person was coerced by another to omit you from the will, or undue influence was used against him or her. Additionally, they may have intended to update the will to include you, and therefore you may be able to argue that the will does not reflect their final wishes.

It is important to remember that if a person has made a will, it can be difficult for an heir-at-law who has been omitted from the will to prove that they are entitled to assets. It is vital that you consider the reasons why you may have been omitted from the will, and whether you believe that you are able to contest the will in California.