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Challenging a will is a challenge all in itself

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2017 | Estate Planning |

Have you recently lost a loved one? Do you have concerns about the state of his or her estate? If you do, you are not the first person to feel that way. Numerous Colorado residents have questioned their loved one’s wills. If necessary, it is possible to challenge a will, though doing so may be challenging all in itself.

It is impossible to please everyone when it comes to writing wills. It is not necessarily the easiest thing to do. Challenging a will is not about someone being unhappy with what he or she is not getting, though. Challenging a will is about questioning its validity, usually due to last-minute changes.

Why challenge a will?

There are several reasons that you may wish to challenge your loved one’s will. One has to do with testamentary capacity. Was the individual of sound mind when he or she created the will, or was the individual old enough to understand what he or she was doing? To challenge a will based on testamentary capacity, one must prove that the will’s owner was still a minor or suffered from some form of senility, insanity or dementia — among other things.

Other reasons to challenge a will is if one suspects fraud, undue influence or forgery. Sadly, it is possible to easily persuade some individuals into changing their wills so that they benefit just one person or a select group of people. This manipulation may come from family members, friends, employees or a number of other sources.

What makes a valid will?

Every state has different laws regarding what makes a valid will. Generally speaking, for a will to be valid, the person to whom the will belongs must:

  • Understand the value of his or her property
  • Understand what making a will means
  • Understand how the distribution of property will work

On top of that, the will itself must certain things as well. These include:

  • The designation of beneficiaries
  • The designation of a personal representative
  • Valid witness signatures

If anything is missing or anything is questionable, it may be possible to throw the will out.

How to challenge a will

Challenging a will involves filing claims in probate court. This is something you can do alone, though seeking assistance from legal counsel is strongly advised as — along with filing an initial claim — there will be the need to provide evidence and possibly offer an oral argument. For a person who is not familiar with probate court, going it alone may prove rather difficult.