Contesting A Will
Most wills go uncontested and the rightful heirs and beneficiaries receive the assets that were detailed in the will. Sadly, there are cases whereby a less than scrupulous beneficiary has made changes to the will that go unnoticed until the deceased person’s reading of the will takes place.
At Gantenbein Law Firm, our group consists of efficient and knowledgeable attorneys who are skilled in all aspects of will contests, probate litigation, asset recovery and other legal issues concerning wills, trusts and estate administration. We are proficient in the preparation and participation in negotiating other resolutions such as mediation.
Our experienced attorneys understand the sensitive nature in contesting a will and the family dynamics that can be involved. We are committed to providing compassionate, responsive counsel to our clients. We are there, with our clients during the entire process, helping ensure their rights are protected.
The most common reason to contest a will is fraud. Fraud can range from tricking a person into signing a new will, taking advantage of a person’s mental lapses or gaining influence over another to make decisions for them. Fraud can occur if the original will was; destroyed, the signature forged, not signed in front of witnesses, a do-it-yourself will, or the will was abruptly altered while the person was in the hospital or under Hospice care.
If you suspect fraud, collect as much evidence as you can. If the case involves a forged signature, find other documents with the deceased person’s signature. Talk to anyone who may have been a witness to anything suspicious.
If undue influence was involved, find others who may have noticed a caretaker, trusted friend or other relative who took advantage of someone, especially if it were an elderly person. They may be able to help prove the deceased didn’t fully understand they were changing or being persuaded to change their will.
Lack of capacity is another reason to contest a will. When a person signs a will, they must have the mental capacity and understanding what they are signing. Persons who have dementia or another cognitive disability may no longer have the capacity to comprehend and cannot legally amend, change or create a new will.
You can contest a will if the will wasn’t properly prepared, witnessed and executed according to the laws of Colorado. Replacing an old will with a more recent one can also be grounds for contesting especially if the new will doesn’t contain a statement that the older will is being cancelled with the execution of this new will. These examples would be considered ‘improper execution’.
The approval of the will is suspended until the contest is resolved. Generally, the statute of limitations to contest a will in Colorado is 3 years.
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