Contest Of Will: California Probate Code – Section 8250-8254, Article 3.
8250. (a) When a will is contested under Section 8004, the
contestant shall file with the court an objection to probate of the
will. Thereafter, a summons shall be issued and served, with a copy
of the objection, on the persons required by Section 8110 to be
served with notice of hearing of a petition for administration of the
decedent's estate. The summons shall be issued and served as
provided in Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 413.10) of Title 5 of
Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The summons shall contain a
direction that the persons summoned file with the court a written
pleading in response to the contest within 30 days after service of
(b) A person named as executor in the will is under no duty to
defend a contest until the person is appointed personal
8251. (a) The petitioner and any other interested person may
jointly or separately answer the objection or demur to the objection
within the time prescribed in the summons.
(b) Demurrer may be made on any of the grounds of demurrer
available in a civil action. If the demurrer is sustained, the court
may allow the contestant a reasonable time, not exceeding 15 days,
within which to amend the objection. If the demurrer is overruled,
the petitioner and other interested persons may, within 15 days
thereafter, answer the objection.
(c) If a person fails timely to respond to the summons:
(1) The case is at issue notwithstanding the failure and the case
may proceed on the petition and other documents filed by the time of
the hearing, and no further pleadings by other persons are necessary.
(2) The person may not participate further in the contest, but the
person's interest in the estate is not otherwise affected. Nothing
in this paragraph precludes further participation by the petitioner.
(3) The person is bound by the decision in the proceeding.
8252. (a) At the trial, the proponents of the will have the burden
of proof of due execution. The contestants of the will have the
burden of proof of lack of testamentary intent or capacity, undue
influence, fraud, duress, mistake, or revocation. If the will is
opposed by the petition for probate of a later will revoking the
former, it shall be determined first whether the later will is
entitled to probate.
(b) The court shall try and determine any contested issue of fact
that affects the validity of the will.
8253. At the trial, each subscribing witness shall be produced and
examined. If no subscribing witness is available as a witness within
the meaning of Section 240 of the Evidence Code, the court may admit
the evidence of other witnesses to prove the due execution of the
8254. The court may make appropriate orders, including orders
sustaining or denying objections, and shall render judgment either
admitting the will to probate or rejecting it, in whole or in part,
and appointing a personal representative.