Identifying interested parties in will contests

One of the first questions that must be answered when a will is contested in California is who are the interested parties. And while this question may seem simple enough on the surface, it can be a complicated question to answer in some cases.

In fact, the petitioner who decides to contest a Last Will and Testament in a probate court is likely to find the number of interested parties is substantially greater than the number he or she originally believed. A major reason for this is that interested parties include more than just the people whose names are listed in the will of the decedent.

All family members of the deceased person are either actual parties or interested parties when a will is contested. The presence or absence of the family member’s name in a will does not change this fact. In addition to the family members who are determined to be interested parties, all individuals listed in the most recent Last Will and Testament of the decedent is also an interested party.

Finally, the petitioner wishing to contest a will should also identify individuals named in previous Last Will and Testaments from the decedent. These individuals may also be considered interested parties by a probate court.

It is essential that all interested parties are properly notified when a will is contested in probate court. All interested parties possess the right to participate in the litigation process, and the result of their participation could greatly affect the outcome for the petitioner as well as the defending party in the case.

Protecting the estate of a loved one who has passed away is a complicated process that is made even more difficult by the grief that accompanies the loss. Individuals who are considering a will contest may find it helpful to speak to an attorney who possesses both the knowledge of the legal process and the compassion to match the gravity of the situation.