In California, there are certain laws in place that prevent just anyone from contesting someone’s will. However, there are also situations in which individuals with the right to contest may step up and do just that.

FindLaw states that there are basic probate laws stating that only “interested persons” have the ability to challenge a will. Generally speaking, this applies across the board for all states. Interested persons can include heirs, children, creditors, spouses and devisees. These people generally fall under one of the three categories of beneficiaries of a previous will, beneficiaries of a current will, and intestate heirs.

In addition to being part of the parties allowed to challenge a will, you must also have a valid reason. Some valid reasons include the deceased individual being under undue influence or not mentally competent at the time they wrote the will, if they revoked a will or wrote a new one before dying, or if mistakes were made on a previous will. Additionally, you can challenge the will if you believe fraud was involved in its making or if it failed to meet the legal standards of California.

You should also know that there are limits on filing. You can contest the will as soon as the testator passes away and you only have 120 days after a hearing date to file a petition to revoke will probate.

If you believe that you have a case in which you can and should contest a will, you may want to contact an attorney experienced in dealing with matters of probate and the estate. They can help you navigate through these complex matters with greater ease.