This is the next post in my series on handling disputes over whether property should be included in a probate. My last article discussed what to expect at a probate trial. It is important to understand that the trial process is complex and that the rules of evidence will be strictly enforced. It is important that you retain an attorney experienced in litigating such matters. In this article, I will be discussing your options for appeal if you were unhappy with the outcome of a trial. Contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
I have previously discussed the process of filing a California family law appeal. Many of these same concepts will apply in a probate case. The most important of these being that an appeal is not a new trial or a “do over” of the process you have already been through. Instead, it is a chance to argue to a higher Court that the Probate Judge made a mistake in interpreting the law or in how they applied the law to the facts of your case. For the most part, the Appellate Court will accept the Probate Judge’s factual findings as accurate. In other words, an appeal is an opportunity to argue legal issues and, for the most part, not factual issues.
Regarding disputes over whether property should have been included in a probate, an appeal can involve issues about whether or not evidence should have been admitted, whether or not objections should have been overruled, and whether or not certain witnesses should have been allowed to testify. Say, for example, that the Probate Judge refused to admit a Title Deed into evidence and then ruled that a piece of property did not belong in the probate. If the Deed would have proven the opposite, then you may wish to appeal whether it should have been admitted into evidence. On appeal, the Court would likely either affirm the decision (meaning that it would uphold the Probate Judge’s Order) or it could reverse the decision. If the decision were reversed then the case would likely go back to the Probate Court for a new trial.
It is important to understand that probate appeals involve complicated issues of law and the Court’s rules are stringent. If you miss your deadline for filing an appeal, then you will likely lose your right to do so in the future. Also, if you do not properly follow the rules while the case is pending then the matter may be dismissed. It is important that you have experienced counsel to assist you.
I handle probate appeals on behalf of those in San Bernardino and elsewhere in California. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation with an attorney. We also service Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Ontario, Victorville, Rialto, Hesperia, Chino, Upland, Apple Valley, Redlands, Highland, Colton, Yucaipa, Montclair, elsewhere in the Inland Empire, as well as Los Angeles.