Someone is challenging a will of which I am to receive assets. Can you help me?
We call this a “will contest.” We are an experienced firm when it comes to contested estates. We will work for you to ensure the best possible outcome for you. Not all will contests work or even have merit. Having an attorney on your side is the first step to ensuring you do not get cut out.
I was left out of a will that I believe I should have been a part of. Can you help me with that?
There are some cases in which a will contest has merit and may work. These include, but are not always limited to, duress, fraud, or incapacity of the person who made the will.
What would duress during the forming a will look like?
This could take many forms. The most common in the real world is imagine an older person preparing to make their will. They have two children named Sam and Sue who they love equally. They want their assets to go to Sam and Sue equally as well. As the parent ages, Sam begins to take care of them while Sue does not because Sue lives in another state. Sam uses this opportunity to convince the parent that Sue clearly does not love the parent as much as Sam (even though it isn’t true) and should be cut out of the will.
It is unfortunate, but as people age, they become easier to control. This can open the door to duress where the child in the example would force the parent to give all assets to them and cut the other child out.
What would fraud look like in the forming of a will?
Fraud can take a few forms. An unethical attorney might convince the client that they need to add the attorney as a beneficiary. Someone may forge a fake will and grant themselves a share of the assets even if they were never included. It is also possible for someone who wishes to be in the will to give “legal advice” to the person making the will which may lead to the will not actually reflecting their wishes. Only lawyers can and should be giving legal advice.
What does incapacity in the making of a will look like?
As people age, they may develop cognitive diseases such as dementia. In the early stages, dementia may only affect the person for one or two days per week. If the attorney were to have the consultation and draft the will unknowingly during one of those days, the client may forget an important piece of their lives or even a person they wished to give to. This temporary incapacity could be ground for a will contest.
How long does probate take?
This is different for every case. In Colorado, it will take at least 6 months by law. Of course, more complex estates may take longer. However, a simple estate could take a long time if it is highly contested (challenged) by one or more sides.