Chayet & Danzo, LLC Chayet & Danzo, LLC www.Coloradoelderlaw.com
Call for a Free Initial Consultation
Direct 303-872-5980
Toll-Free 888-472-1088
Email Us
Compassion, talent and dedication: guiding colorado families and Their Trusted Advisors During Times of Need

3 reasons you might challenge a will

According to a recent CNBC report, estate taxes are surprisingly not the biggest threat to estate plans – families are. The reasons for this follow familiar patterns of human conflict: miscommunication, unrealistic expectations and a history of family drama. Even so, there are times when legitimate concerns about a will or estate plan need to be examined and possibly addressed via probate litigation. Here are three reasons why you might want to challenge a will.

1. To illuminate undue influence

Undue influence claims arise when surviving family members, heirs or beneficiaries suspect the deceased was wrongfully coerced into changing their will. Typically, the culprit served in a caretaker role or was close enough to the deceased to take advantage of his or her dependence or declining mental capacity. They may not even be a member of your family.

To achieve their aims, those who unduly influence the elderly into changing a will do not often tell family members about changes or updates to the estate plan. They may enlist the services of a different firm or attorney to make updates to avoid suspicion. So, it comes as quite a surprise when, after the funeral, the will reveals new instructions or instructions that defy common sense.

If this happened to your family, you can challenge the will if the estate's administration is still in process. Bringing an undue influence claim requires the use of medical records, eyewitness testimony and perhaps expert witnesses to determine whether your loved one was of sound mind when the changes were made.

2. To challenge whether the deceased was competent

Similar to undue influence claims, you may also challenge a will if you believe the deceased was not competent enough to create it or to know what they were signing. Your elderly parent or relative’s mental capacity may have already been in steep decline at the time the will was said to have been created or updated. Again, medical records and the testimony of psychologists and/or caregivers will be necessary to prove that your loved one was sufficiently incapacitated such that the provisions of the will are not valid.

3. To challenge the choice of executor

A less sinister but just as complicated challenge would be if you have reason to believe that the deceased's choice of executor is unfit for the job. Typical reasons might include that the person is:

  • Mentally unfit for the task
  • Known to have fraudulent dealings in the past
  • Not acting in the best interests of the estate plan (called "breach of fiduciary duty")
  • Actively committing estate fraud

Remember, the fact that you do not like the executor or you think they aren't good with money may not be reason enough to remove them. You need to have solid evidence that the person’s actions, negligence or intentions will significantly harm or derail the estate administration process.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Watch Our Firm Video

We are the premier Elder Law firm in the Colorado region. We set ourselves apart from other law firms in the area with our talent, dedication, compassion and ability of our attorneys to handle any case in Elder Law. We serve Colorado families with experience and dignity in your time of need.

View More Videos

Denver Office
650 S.Cherry St., Suite 710
Denver, CO 80246

Toll Free: 1-888-472-1088
Phone: 303-872-5980
Fax: 303-355-8501
Denver Law Office Map

Edwards Office
105 Edwards Village Blvd.
#D-201
Edwards, CO 81632

Toll Free: 888-472-1088
Toll Free: 1-888-472-1088
Fax: 303-355-8501
Edwards Law Office Map

Aspen Office
600 East Hopkins Avenue
Suite 301
Aspen, CO 81611

Toll Free: 888-472-1088
Toll Free: 1-888-472-1088
Fax: 303-355-8501
Aspen Law Office Map

  • Rated by Super Lawyers Macro Chayet SuperLawyers.com
  • Rated by Super Lawyers Frank J. Danzo, III  SuperLawyers.com
  • Member National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. TM
  • Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Elder Law
  • 2015 Five Star Professional Wealth Manager Multi-Year Winner
  • Our new 2015 Medicaid Book: how to protect your Family's Assets from devastating nursing home costs
  • Proud Sponsor 2015-Denver Colorado Senior Law Day
  • Peer Review Rated For Ethical standards & Legal Ability TM Martindale Hubbell
  • Haystack