A will declares the wishes of the deceased, but it's not always the final word. Heirs who felt slighted in the distribution of assets or family members excluded completely may cry foul and challenge the validity of the will.
The Law Offices of James G. Schwartz handles will contests and other probate litigation. We have represented beneficiaries or excluded heirs in challenging the will, or family members who want to honor the document as the deceased's true wishes.
We are located in Pleasanton, California, practicing in probate courts of Alameda County, Contra Costa County and surrounding jurisdictions of the San Francisco Bay Area. Founding attorney Jim Schwartz has more than 30 years of experience in civil litigation, including probate litigation.Probate Litigation Lawyer in California
Common ground for contesting the will or allocation include:
- Incompetency — The person lacked the mental capacity to understand what they were signing because of dementia or heavy medication.
- Undue influence claims — Someone convinced the dying person to alter the will in their favor, perhaps cutting siblings or other relatives out.
- Fraud or conversion — The will was forged or assets of the estate were misappropriated.
- The will was not properly signed, witnessed or filed per California law
To avoid a family feud and tying up the estate for years, we work to resolve will contests out of court when possible. However, if foul play is suspected or no middle ground can be negotiated, our trial lawyers are fully prepared to protect our client's interests in an escalation to probate court.
We also handle probate litigation over breach of fiduciary duty in estate administration: a trustee pocketing funds of the trust, an executor who is circumventing the will, or an incompetent administrator who has not notified heirs or distributed property of the estate within a reasonable time.Contact a California Probate Litigation Attorney Today
Contact our Pleasanton office to arrange a consultation. We welcome out-of-state parties who have a stack in the probating of a Northern California estate.