The final wishes of a loved one, as laid out in their last will, often represent their deepest desires for the distribution of their estate. However, there are situations where the validity of a will in Colorado might be questioned, leading interested parties to challenge it.
Given the gravity of the process and its implications, it is imperative to understand the grounds and mechanisms available for such a challenge in the state of Colorado.
Grounds for Challenging a Will in Colorado
- Lack of Testamentary Capacity: For a will to be valid, the testator (the person making the will) should have been of sound mind when the will was made. If it can be demonstrated that the testator did not understand the nature of their actions or the property being disposed of, the will may be invalidated.
- Undue Influence: This pertains to situations where the testator was manipulated or coerced into creating the will in a certain way. If it’s proved that someone exerted undue influence over the testator, resulting in benefits they would not have otherwise received, the will can be set aside.
- Improper Execution: Colorado law mandates certain procedures for the proper execution of a will. This generally includes the requirement for the will to be in writing, signed by the testator, and witnessed by at least two individuals. The will might be rendered invalid if these protocols are not adhered to.
- Existence of a Subsequent Will: A newer will, executed after a previous one, can supersede the older document. If such a will surfaces, it needs to be verified and can replace the earlier version if found valid.
- Fraud or Forgery: If parts of the will or the entire document were forged, or if the testator was fraudulently led to signing a will, believing it to be another type of document, the will can be invalidated.
Steps to Challenge a Will in Colorado
- Filing a Contest: A will contest is initiated by filing a petition in a Colorado probate court. It is essential to note that only “interested persons” (those who stand to gain or lose from the will) can contest a will.
- Gather Evidence: Strong evidence is crucial for the contesting party to prove one or more of the abovementioned grounds. This can include witness testimonies, medical records, expert opinions, etc.
- Legal Proceedings: The contest will proceed as a civil lawsuit, and both sides will present their arguments and evidence. The court will make a decision based on the presented facts.
- Potential Outcomes: If the court favors the contesting party, the will can be completely invalidated, or specific provisions can be set aside. Depending on the circumstances, a previous will might be reinstated, or the estate may be distributed according to Colorado’s intestacy laws if no valid will exists.
If you believe a loved one’s will isn’t reflecting their genuine intentions or if you face any other probate concerns, the right representation can make all the difference.
At Baker Law Group, our dedicated Will attorney in Colorado has years of experience handling intricate will disputes.
As a leading Colorado Will attorney, we offer unmatched guidance and advocacy to protect your interests. Don’t go through this challenging process alone. Consult with a Denver Will Lawyer from our team today and ensure your rights are well represented.