An objection to a probate petition is a legal document that an interested party can file to contest the validity of a will or object to the appointment of the proposed executor.
When someone passes away and leaves behind a will, any interested party can initiate proceedings for the administration of the estate by filing a petition for probate of the will. Under California Probate Code 8250, an interested party can contest the will or oppose the appointment of the proposed executor by filing an objection to probate of the will. This initiates the will contest process, and the objecting party will have the opportunity to prove that the will is legally invalid or the proposed executor should not be appointed.
To file an objection, you or your attorney must submit it to the probate court where the petition for probate of the will was filed. In doing so, you will need to follow the local filing rules for that court. Because objecting to probate and contesting a will typically involves technicalities and can be an uphill battle, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel to assist you.
Who Gets a Notice of Probate Petition?
When the proponent of a will files a petition for probate, they must provide notice to the following individuals at least 15 days before the hearing is scheduled:
- Every heir of the deceased person.
- Every person who is left something in the will.
- Every person named as executor or alternative executor.
The petitioner must also publish notifications in a newspaper of general circulation in the city where the decedent resided at the time of death or where the decedent’s property is located.
What Makes a Codicil Invalid?
A codicil, which is a legal document that changes at least some, but not necessarily all, of the provisions of a will, can be contested in the same way that a will can be. And just like with a will, any interested party who doesn’t like the terms of the codicil or thinks its terms are unfair can contest the codicil’s legal validity as long as they have a legal basis to do so.
Some reasons a codicil can be contested include:
- Lack of testamentary intent
- Lack of testamentary capacity
- Undue influence
Contesting a will or codicil is no easy feat. Objecting to a probate petition is a technically complicated process, and the person filing the objection, in most instances, will have the legal burden to prove that the will is invalid. For this reason, it’s vital that you work with skilled probate counsel with experience litigating these types of cases in probate court to help you present your best case.
If you are considering challenging a will or a codicil, you should speak with a probate litigation attorney as soon as you can. A lawyer can explain the process to you and help you identify the legal grounds you may have to file a contest so that you can ensure your loved one’s legacy is protected as they intended.
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About RMO, LLP
RMO LLP serves clients in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Orange County, San Diego, Kansas City, Miami, and communities throughout California, Florida, Missouri, and Kansas. Our founder, Scott E. Rahn, has been named “Top 100 – Trust and Estate Litigation” by SuperLawyers, Trusts and Estates Litigator of the Year, and Best Lawyers in America for Litigation – Trusts and Estates. For a free consultation, call (424) 320-9444 or visit: https://rmolawyers.com.