Contested Wills in Fort Collins, Colorado

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Fort Collins, CO

In Fort Collins, Colorado, there is a process through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is identified as a "contested will" or "will contest."

There are numerous reasons why a person might want to contest a will made by a close family member. Sometimes, people will decide to leave money or property to charity, or to other entities who are not closely related. If their family members weren't expecting this, they might assume that something went wrong with the drafting of the will.

If a considerable amount of money or property is being given away, the person left out of the will could rationally conclude that the cost and time of a court challenge is worth it.

Nonetheless, this is a matter that should not be approached lightly - will contests can frequently foster strife and infighting within families who are already mourning the loss of a loved one. This can permanently damage or alter family relationships.

When Can a Will be Contested in Fort Collins, Colorado?

A court in Fort Collins, Colorado will not entertain a will contest unless there is a very good reason to do so. But, there are some allegations which, if shown, clearly invalidate a will.

For instance, a will which was not made under the testator's own volition and free will is not valid. This means that the testator must be acting voluntarily throughout the entire process of making his will. Thus, a will made under duress (force, or threat of force) will not be given effect. In order to show duress, you generally need to first prove that the person named in the will was in a position of trust and power over the decedent, and that they are an "unnatural beneficiary" (someone who you would not normally expect to receive a gift under a will, usually because they are not related to, or close friends with, the testator). These facts, taken alone, are never enough to definitively prove that duress occurred. They are, however, usually enough to suggest that something strange is going on, and warrant further investigation.

Because a testator must know what they are doing in order to write a valid will, the testator must be of sound mind at the time the will is made. Essentially, if a person is unaware of what they're doing, and the consequences of their actions, they can't make a legitimate will. This can be due to mental illness, or intoxication. Of course, if it's a result of intoxication, the testator can simply sober up and then make a perfectly valid will.

If the contest is successful, a court in Fort Collins, Colorado might find the will or part of it invalid. Of course, that leaves the question of how to distribute the property in the absence of a valid will. All states have laws that address this situation, typically passing the property to the decedent's closest living kin. All states have laws governing the order in which property is passed on in this manner. Normally, it goes to the spouse first. If there is no living spouse, it goes to the children. If there are no children, it goes to the decedent's parents, and so on. Most laws on this subject are written in such a way that almost everyone will have at least one relative entitled to inherit, even if that person is very distantly related to the decedent. In the very rare case where no living relatives exist, or none can be found, the decedent's assets usually go to the state.

Can a Fort Collins, Colorado Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is never particularly easy or enjoyable. However, a reliable Fort Collins, Colorado attorney can help take some of the burden off of you, and handle some of the most difficult aspects of this process.

Talk to a Wills, Trusts and Estates Law Attorney now!

Life in Fort Collins

Fort Collins is a medium-sized city. It is a home-rule municipality, meaning that it is not part of any county, and the state of Colorado has delegated some of its authority to the city, which the city can exercise within its own borders. It has a population of about 137,000. Fort Collins is generally known as a college town, being home to Colorado State University. The city of Fort Collins frequently ranks near the top of Money Magazine's list of best places in the U.S. to live. Because of the large college-aged demographic, Fort Collins has a thriving music and art scene, as well as a large number of well-regarded microbreweries. Fort Collins has a healthy and diverse economy, with major employers such as Colorado State University, Hewlett Packard, AMD, Wal-Mart, and many others providing thousands of public and private-sector jobs, in a wide variety of fields. Given its size, diversity, and vitality, it should come as no surprise that, with all the business that's done in Fort Collins, there are sometimes legal issues. For that reason, it shouldn't be a surprise that there are many Fort Collins, Colorado lawyers who are very skilled. If you're facing a legal issue, a Fort Collins, Colorado lawyer can help.

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