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Make sure you understand the true cost of contesting a will

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2022 | Estate Administration & Probate |

If you feel cheated when the contents of someone’s will are revealed, your first instinct might be to contest it.

If you wish to do so and are one of the people eligible to do so (typically beneficiaries or those who would benefit if there were no will), rather than filing straight away, take a bit of time to think over the true cost of proceeding.

You could lose what you are currently due to get

A person creating a will can insert a no-contest clause to dissuade anyone from challenging their wishes. They could say that anyone contesting it will lose their right to any inheritance.

Yet while Colorado recognizes no contest clauses, its courts will not uphold them when someone has “probable cause” to file a contest. In others words, do not file a frivolous contest. Only think about contesting a will if there was a problem with the making of the will. For example, it is fraudulent, or someone pressured the deceased into favoring them.

The personal cost

Legal battles are stressful for all involved. Make sure you have the stomach and financial resources for what could be a lengthy battle. Think about who you will be going up against. For instance, if you are accusing your sister of exerting undue influence over your father, be prepared for her, her spouse and other family and friends never to speak to you again.

The cost of delay

No one gets anything from the will until a dispute is settled. Perhaps your brother needs his inheritance to avoid foreclosure on his home or pay his child’s college fees.

Maybe you are due to get $400,000 but feel you should be due $600,000. If taking $400,000 now enables you to save your business, it might be better just to take it.

Despite this, sometimes, contesting a will is the right path. Consider legal help to examine whether contesting a will is in your best interests.