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Wrongfully Disinherited Heir Lawsuit Attorney


Were you going to receive an inheritance from a loved one, but you were removed or excluded from the will due to someone else’s interference? Unfortunately, money can bring out the worst in people, which is why California adopted a law in 2012 to allow lawsuits by wrongfully disinherited heirs. However, the law has strict limitations on what it means to be wrongfully disinherited. Additionally, you will need to determine if there is a remedy through the probate courts that can resolve your claim. If so, you would need to go through probate instead of filing for intentional interference with an estate.

In the upcoming sections, we will go into detail about these requirements, along with examples to illustrate our points. However, examples will only give you a basic overview of the state’s intentional interference with expected inheritance (IIEI) laws. To learn about all the legal actions you can take in your own case, contact our office and speak with one of our attorneys.

How to Prove a Case of Intentional Interference with Expected Inheritance

Many people assume that they have a clear cut case of IIEI, but these claims are much harder to prove than you would expect. Here are the basic elements you will need to prove in order to sue as a wrongfully disinherited heir:

  • You were told that you would receive an inheritance from the decedent.
  • There was an act of intentional interference by the defendant regarding the will or trust.
  • The interference was directed at you, specifically.
  • Had it not been for the defendant’s interference, you would have received a portion of the estate.
  • You sustained compensable damages as a result of the defendant’s actions.
  • No other remedies are available to you according to state laws.

That last factor is especially important, and we will explore it in greater detail later on. But you can see how challenging these lawsuits can be when you have to prove each and every one of these elements. A lawyer experienced with California’s intentional interference with inheritance laws can help you gather evidence and fight for the damages you are entitled to.

Your Right to File an Intentional Interference Lawsuit

So we talked about the requirements that must be met in order to have a case for IIEI. One of these referred to alternative legal remedies that may be available to you. This is known as the “probate remedy,” which refers to your inheritance rights as a family member, previously named beneficiary, or legal heir (heir-at-law).

For example, let’s say you and your sibling are both heirs-at-law of your mother’s estate. She had a will in place that named both you and your sister as beneficiaries. But shortly before your mother’s death, your sister convinced her to change the will and leave the entire estate to her. Because you are a family member, you are able to pursue a lawsuit in probate court to contest your mother’s will. Since you have a probate remedy as a disinherited heir, you cannot file a lawsuit for intentional interference with expected inheritance.

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Case Examples of Intentional Interference with an Inheritance

Now, let’s go over a sample case where you would have a right to sue for IIEI as a wrongfully disinherited heir. This means you do not have a legal claim to the decedent’s estate since you are not a family member or heir-at-law. Consider the following example.

  • The decedent was your best friend for many years. You visited her regularly, helped her with errands, and were a constant source of love and support. Your friend made it clear that she wanted half her estate to go to you, and the other half to her son. Her lawyer drafted an estate plan and mailed it to her, since she would have to sign the document. However, the son found out about his mother’s plans and intercepted the mail. Your friend was about to call her attorney and ask for another copy, but she passed away before she could make the call.

In this case, you are not a family member, heir-at-law, or prior named beneficiary, so you cannot assert your rights in probate court. If you can prove that your friend’s son took deliberate actions to exclude you from the estate, you may be able to sue for IIEI in civil court.

Same sex partners are another group of individuals that are affected by intentional interference with an inheritance. In fact, the seminal case that brought about California’s IIEI laws in 2012 involved a same sex couple, who had been together for about 10 years. In Beckwith v. Dahl, the decedent, Marc, had a will that divided his estate equally between his sister and his partner, Brent. However, Brent was unable to locate the will after Marc’s death. Marc’s sister, Susan, told Brent that she knew about her brother’s wishes regarding his estate, so there was no need for him to file a probate request.

Sadly, Susan then filed a probate action on her own and took all of Marc’s estate for herself. Brent filed a lawsuit for Susan’s deceitful conduct, which was initially dismissed by the civil courts. However, he appealed the decision and won, which determined once and for all the right to sue another party that “intentionally and wrongfully” interfered with an expected inheritance.

Speak to a Wrongfully Disinherited Heir Lawsuit Attorney

The bottom line is that IIEI lawsuits are incredibly complicated, and there’s no quick or easy solution with this type of legal action. However, an experienced attorney can build a strong case on your behalf and help you recover your portion of a loved one’s inheritance.

Our lawyers can provide you with the representation you need if you have been intentionally excluded from a will or trust. We will take immediate and aggressive action on your case and ensure that you are properly compensated according to the decedent’s wishes. As for our legal fees, you won’t have to worry about that under our Zero fee guarantee. There is nothing you have to pay upfront since we work on contingency. We only get paid by winning your case, and if we lose, there is no cost to you whatsoever.

For legal advice regarding your rights as a wrongfully disinherited heir, give us a call and schedule a free case evaluation.

Speak to a Wrongfully Disinherited Heir Lawsuit Attorney

The bottom line is that IIEI lawsuits are incredibly complicated, and there’s no quick or easy solution with this type of legal action. However, an experienced attorney can build a strong case on your behalf and help you recover your portion of a loved one’s inheritance.

Our lawyers can provide you with the representation you need if you have been intentionally excluded from a will or trust. We will take immediate and aggressive action on your case and ensure that you are properly compensated according to the decedent’s wishes. As for our legal fees, you won’t have to worry about that under our Zero fee guarantee. There is nothing you have to pay upfront since we work on contingency. We only get paid by winning your case, and if we lose, there is no cost to you whatsoever.

For legal advice regarding your rights as a wrongfully disinherited heir, give us a call and schedule a free case evaluation.


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