Trust and Estate Litigation
Families do fight and the frequency of fighting seems to have escalated in recent years. When a loved one dies, long simmering tension can come to a boil. Also, many wills, trusts or other types of instruments which dispose of assets upon death are poorly drafted. When a client brings in a poorly drafted document for review it is often necessary to have it interpreted by a court to resolve drafting problems.
A valid will in Colorado requires the will be executed by a testator (the person signing the will) at a time when the testator has mental capacity (or testamentary capacity as we lawyers call it) and is not being unduly influenced by someone to write the will a particular way. If an individual signs a will when he or she does not have testamentary capacity, or was unduly influenced by a third party the document is subject to challenge. Often times these documents financially benefit the influcencer.
When someone contests a will, the court can order the will to be ignored or set aside. If this happens, the prior will of the decedent would be enforced instead, or the decedent's estate could be distributed according to the laws of the State of Colorado for cases where decedents don't leave a will. A will contest can be emotionally draining and likely will cause family strife. This is often the case. If you need assistance in determining your rights regarding an interest you have in an estate, feel free to contact us to set an appointment to discuss your options.
All of these types of cases usually involve a court and this is what we mean by estate litigation.
Appearing in court causes an enormous amount of stress. Our experience in drafting estate plans and litigating will contests can help us guide your family towards resolution without going to court. It is our philosophy to try and do everything we can to reduce the stress created by these types of conflicts. We will listen to you and guide you to insure you get the most favorable outcome possible.