Of Death and Wills: Can You Contest a Will?

Man talking to his lawyer about his willSo you’ve had a strong and loving father and he always says that if he passes away, he would leave all his assets to you and your siblings. When he died, however, you found out that he left everything to only one sibling or the housekeeper as indicated in a will that he only recently wrote. Can you do anything? Contest it immediately, of course. However, you could only contest your father’s will under the following circumstances:

  • If you’re an “Interested Party.” Interested parties include those that would’ve inherited from their loved one in the absence of a will and those who were, or are current beneficiaries. Note that you can’t contest a will because you believe it to be unfair.
  • If there’s evidence of undue influence. If you strongly believe that your loved one was coerced into changing his will, you could contest the will. If that individual were your loved one’s spouse, child, or a person with a POA or power of attorney, he or she would need to prove to the court that there wasn’t any undue influence.
  • If your loved one was mentally incapable of writing the will. To prove this, you could get a statement from the doctor who treated him, statements from witnesses, and medical records to support your claim.
  • If the will wasn’t properly executed. While state law differs, it might be enough to invalidate the will if it was signed without the presence of independent witnesses.
  • If there’s fraud. If your loved one mistakenly signed the will without really knowing that it was in fact, a will, that’s considered fraud, explains experienced probate attorneys in Denver. They add that fraud could also occur if an individual provided your loved one false or misleading information that resulted in him changing the will.
  • There are other ways you could contest a will under Colorado statutes. You could also make a claim against the will’s trustee, a person with a POA, or a personal representative for interfering with the inheritance or breach of fiduciary duty.
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If you managed to contest your father’s new will successfully, the court might reinstate the old one you knew about. You could likewise request the court to invalidate only the portion of your father’s will that was found to be invalid and leave the rest as is. However, in the absence of a will, your father’s estate will pass under the intestate succession statutes of your state.