My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: CA
What are the consequences for destroying someone's will after they die?
My father died this June. He had an Irrevocable Living Trust and a pourover will that left everything "forgotten" to the trust.
Here's the wrinkle. He married his caregiver in secret 10 months before he died. We found out only one week before he died that they were married. Shortly before the funeral, she cleared most of his belongings out of his house, including all financial paperwork. This included the original copy of his will.
He left the caregiver/wife a life estate in a rental property in the trust and that's all. She has been going after more money by filing a spousal petition on assets that didn't properly get put into the trust (my Dad was very ill and we believe he had intended to take care of transferring the assets to the trust). There was no community property, so she was not entitled to anything beyond the life estate.
In the spousal petition she filed with the court (under penalty of perjury), she claimed there was a valid will.
Now she is claiming the will is "lost" and that she should get a third of the "intestate" assets. She is the only one who could have the original will. The lawyer's notes say he gave it to my father shortly after it was signed. It doesn't make sense that my father would revoke the will and not the trust that the will puts everything into.
What are the laws about the destruction of someone's will?