Contesting a will after 120 days?

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Latest post 12-13-2012 10:10 PM by JWebber. 8 replies.
  • 12-10-2012 10:35 PM

    • JWebber
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    Contesting a will after 120 days?

    Hello, everyone. I am really in need of some help and I found this forum. I don't understand law at all, so I really need some help with this. I apologize if I sound ignorant with any of this. I really don't know where to began with anything. I really, really need some help...

    One of my family members died several months ago. Even before death, I was told that the will was specifically set up to be divided equally between three family members. Upon death, the other two family members began acting very strangely and told me some things which I have now discovered to be lies (such as excuses and reasons why I wouldn't be able to receive any money for a certain amount of time).
    I recently discovered that the other two family members in the will had convinced the dying family member to cut me completely out of it. As it is now, the will is spilt between them 50/50. Upon going over the will, I can see that this change was made while my dying family member was in a weak mental state. I have medical documents to prove this.

    So that's a short briefing of what I am dealing with, but my question is...
    I have heard that there is a 120 day time period in which I am able to contest the will. That time has passed by now. Is there still anything I can do? Also, the family member who wrote the will lived in California. I live in a different state. Does this mean anything as for the contesting time period?

    I really appreciate any help or advice. Again, I apologize for my cluelessness as to how any of this works. I can give additional details if needed. 

  • 12-11-2012 1:02 AM In reply to

    Re: Contesting a will after 120 days?

    O.k., let's start with this: in what state did the decedent reside when he or she died -- was that California? What is the relationship to the decedent of each of the three people involved? And do you have the prior will of the decedent in which the estate was to be split 3 ways? The answers to those questions will help narrow down the possible outcomes here.

  • 12-11-2012 8:52 AM In reply to

    • JWebber
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    Re: Contesting a will after 120 days?

    Thank you very much for your reply.

    The decedent resided in California when she died. (I live in Louisiana.)
    The relationship of the decedent to each of the three people involved is mother. (The estate was supposed to be split between her three children.)
    Yes, I have a copy of the prior will in which the estate was to be split three ways.

    They were extremely sneaky with the will and sent me copies of both the prior and altered one. Upon examining them, they look exactly the same to an untrained eye. A single page that stated the changes was slipped in with the rest of the stack. This was not found until recently when I had someone who better understands this stuff read through it.

  • 12-11-2012 9:11 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Contesting a will after 120 days?

    Laymans guess:

    The statutue of limitations in CA I frankly don't know --its probably not that short but in a practical sense time matters --if the pot gets divided and pieces disappear and door is closed by other tools its going to be darn hard to reconstruct pot for redivision.

    If you are decedants child and were in earlier will you have standing to contest --but probably means you need to go to CA as part of process.

    A will with tampered pages is a big big taboo and a changed page is likely fatal as to that page at the very least unless the whole thing was redone with fresh signatures and fresh witnesses etc.

    There could be other defects--lack of proper witnesses etc -or Mom lacked testementary capacity --but thats a hard one-If Mom was two steps above a mushroom she probably had enough capacity ---or Mom's arm was being twisted



  • 12-11-2012 9:52 AM In reply to

    Re: Contesting a will after 120 days?

    8270.  (a) Within 120 days after a will is admitted to probate, 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 in the contest, may petition the court to revoke the probate
    of the will. The petition shall include objections setting forth
    written grounds of opposition.
       (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a person who was a minor or
    who was incompetent and had no guardian or conservator at the time a
    will was admitted to probate may petition the court to revoke the
    probate of the will at any time before entry of an order for final
    distribution.
    
    
    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=prob&group=08001-09000&file=8270-8272

  • 12-11-2012 11:14 AM In reply to

    Re: Contesting a will after 120 days?

    Seems to me that you're presuming 120 days from death.  Unless the will was filed with appropriate court day after death -- not likely -- you oughtn't have a problem.

    The advice would be to reach out to CA estate-probate counsel in the relevant jurisdiction about possibly sending the parties in question a firm letter about undue influence on a person who was in a "weak mental state" (which isn't the same as being mentally incompetent).  Unless you have tons of dough, it may be that you'd have an impossible task pursuing contest of the will based on undue influence.

  • 12-11-2012 11:21 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Contesting a will after 120 days?

    Given that there seems to be a 120 day requirement I'd for sure put on a major rush and be positive my objections were properly filed on or before  day 119 after the date of record of the new will being filed. Me, I'd cite as a separate reason every possible reason that exists under CA code --if 5 reasons seem plausible, cite each 5 separately --keep every foot in the door for now.

    Lots smarter to use counsel --but no matter what you do --get it there by day 119 .



  • 12-11-2012 1:13 PM In reply to

    Re: Contesting a will after 120 days?

    JWebber:
    One of my family members died several months ago.

    Based on your follow up post, I assume this person was your mother.  Exactly when did she die?

     

    JWebber:
    Even before death, I was told that the will was specifically set up to be divided equally between three family members.

    You were told by whom?

     

    JWebber:
    I have heard that there is a 120 day time period in which I am able to contest the will. That time has passed by now. Is there still anything I can do?

    Your statement that the "time has passed by now" may not be correct because I suspect you think the 120 days starts running on the date of death, which is not correct.  Has your mother's alleged will been admitted to probate?  If so, when did that happen?

    Regardless of how you answer these questions, I hope you don't need us to tell you that you should contact a probate/estate attorney in the area where your mother lived.

     

    JWebber:
    Also, the family member who wrote the will lived in California. I live in a different state. Does this mean anything as for the contesting time period?

    No.

  • 12-13-2012 10:10 PM In reply to

    • JWebber
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    • CA
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    Re: Contesting a will after 120 days?

    A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has taken the time to reply and help me. I am now in contact with an attorney who is helping me further with this situation.
    Any moderator on this site, please feel free to delete this thread since I will no longer be able to reply here. Once again, thank you very much to everyone who has taken the time to offer me help. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.

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