A personal representative appointed to administer the estate of a deceased person in Alameda County has several responsibilities. One of the most important of these is to distribute the remaining assets according to instructions the decedent left behind in his or her will.
Unfortunately, the bequests a deceased family member makes can sometimes come as an unpleasant surprise. If your inheritance is less than what you expected, you may feel left out or shortchanged. You may even suspect wrongdoing in the form of fraud or undue influence.
It may be possible to contest a will that seems illegitimate in some way. However, before taking that step, you should carefully consider the costs of doing so.
Chances of success
The chances of successfully contesting a will are very small; it does not happen very often. Even when a will contest resolves, it is usually a settlement out of court.
Relationships with others
Contesting a will often means taking legal action against members of your own family, such as parents and siblings. This can cause a family rift that can prove difficult, if not impossible, to mend. The monetary gains may not make up for this significant, though intangible, loss.
Costs of litigation
If the amount of money you stand to gain by contesting the will exceeds what you would spend to litigate it, then it may be worth pursuing. Bear in mind, however, that the costs associated with litigation can add up to thousands of dollars.
Maybe it is not a matter of money for you, but a question of righting a wrong against a loved one. If that is the case, then contesting the will may be the right decision regardless of the costs involved. However, there may also be other legal avenues by which you can pursue justice. For example, you may be able to pursue criminal charges if you suspect fraud or elder abuse.