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Who can challenge a California will?

Last week, we discussed the latest development in the case between Robin Williams' children and his widow. If you remember, his widow has filed a petition with the court to get help interpreting his will and trust. That is considered a will challenge.

It is very sad to think that Williams took the time to create a will and trust only to have his loved ones end up in court over it. As we discussed last week, this case is one that shows how important it is that estate planning documents be as precise as possible. Of course, even the most detailed estate plan might end up being challenged. Our California readers might like to know more about will challenges.

Who can challenge a will?

In order to challenge a will, a person must be an interested party. Spouses, creditors, children, heirs and people who can claim a right to the assets in the will can contest or challenge the will. Generally, a person must be named in the will or stand to inherit or lose assets if a will is found to be invalid. Even if there is a no contest clause in the will, it might still be subject to challenging by an interested party.

Can minors challenge a will?

Minors usually can't challenge a will because they aren't able to initiate legal proceedings. There are some instances in which a minor might be able to challenge a will through someone else, such as a court representative or executor.

Those who are creating an estate plan should make sure their wishes are conveyed clearly. Those left behind to deal with the estate plan should make sure they understand the will. In some cases, challenging a will might be necessary to ensure the decedent's wishes are followed.

Source: FindLaw, "Who Can Challenge a Will?" accessed Feb. 20, 2015

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