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Contesting wills and trusts in Colorado

Colorado individuals who are contemplating planning the disposition of their estates may feel that putting together a will or a trust is sufficient, but it may also be important to take steps to ensure it is less likely that those documents can be contested. Wills and trusts cannot be contested by just anyone. Only certain people may challenge the validity of these documents, and they can only do so under certain circumstances.

There are only two sets of people who can legally bring trust or will contests. These are individuals who would under state law be heirs if there were no will and beneficiaries who were named in previous wills or trusts who are not now named or whose portion of the estate is reduced in the new document.

Even among these individuals, there is a limit to the legitimate reasons for contesting a will or trust. A will or trust can be contested if the individual who made it lacked the capacity to do so or was unduly influenced by another. It may also be challenged if the signature on the document is invalid. Finally, if some sort of fraud took place, such as the individual thinking they were signing a different document, there may be a contest.

Individuals who are considering these documents may wish to take two steps that may reduce the likelihood of a challenge. One is working with an attorney who may be able offer guidance to ensure that the documents are correct. The other is regular communication with loved ones. Those who make their intentions known to their families and who discuss any changes that need to be made and the reasons for those changes may be less likely to have doubt cast on those intentions after their death.

Source: Wealth Management, "Will and Trust Contests 101", December 28, 2014

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