(303) 268-3991

Law Offices of E. Christopher Lang P.C.  

Affordable Probate Litigation and Will Contests Denver Colorado

               E. Christopher Lang P.C. Law can expertly guide clients through the probate process in Colorado. Our expertise can assist in keeping estate and income taxes to a minimum while expeditiously guiding our clients through the probate process here in Colorado. Furthermore, we can represent clients with any Probate litigation matters that may arise.

                Litigators and trusts and estates attorneys with the Law Office of E. Christopher Lang P.C.  bring the requisite experience and knowledge to a wide range of Probate, estate and contested guardianship litigation. We seek a prompt resolution to disputes, while protecting and advancing our client's interests at all times. Our Attorney's Specialize in Litigation, trusts, estates probate and guardianship litigation. This combination of experience and expertise enhances the likelihood of success for our clients.

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Probate Litigation and Will Contests

Probate is a civil action to establish that a certain document was intended by a testator to be his or her Last Will and Testament and to determine whether that document is valid under the law. Probate litigation has increased dramatically in the last decade due to the splintering of the family unit, an ever more litigious society and the increasing wealth in our country.

The most common type of probate litigation is the will contest, which is a court action challenging the validity of a purported will. A variety of grounds exist under Colorado law to challenge the validity of a will:

  1. Noncompliance with formalities - The focus is on whether the purported will meets the statutory requirements as to form and execution. Generally, at a minimum, a will must be in writing and signed by the testator and two witnesses.
  2. Revocation - The inquiry is to determine whether the will was revoked by the testator. When a contestant believes that the will filed for admittance to Probate has been revoked by the testator, he or she must prove that the will was revoked by (a) the execution of a new will or of a codicil, (b) a subsequent divorce or marriage, or (c) an express act.
  3. Lack of capacity - The issue is whether the testator lacked the mental capacity to make the will. Will contests based upon the testator's lack of mental capacity are very common types of testamentary challenges. Testamentary capacity typically requires that a testator have sufficient mental acuity to understand (a) the amount and nature of his or her property, (b) the natural objects of his or her bounty, i.e., the family members and loved ones who would ordinarily receive such property by will, and (c) how his or her will disposes of such property. Simply because an individual has a form of mental illness or disease does not mean that he or she automatically lacks the requisite mental capacity to make a Last Will and Testament.
  4. Fraud - The issues are whether the testator was defrauded into signing a document, through intentional misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact which induced the
  5. Forgery - This claim involves the execution of a purported will by someone other than the testator.
  6. Mistake - The inquiry involves whether the testator was mistaken about the nature of the document, about the contents of the will or about an underlying fact which caused the testator to sign the will based on an inaccurate belief. The contestant has the burden to prove that the testator's will did not comport with the
  7. Undue Influence - This is the most common means by which a will is attacked. Undue influence refers to as "mental, moral or physical persuasion which has destroyed the free agency of a testator by preventing the testator from following the dictates of his own mind and accepting instead the domination and influence of another". An undue influence challenge relates to whether the testator made a will freely, without being coerced by another person or persons. For example, a family member or acquaintance might pressure a frail, elderly person to leave most or all of his or her assets to that individual, while excluding others who would typically receive an inheritance. To prove that the will was made under undue influence, one must show that a beneficiary exercised such influence over the maker of a will so as to override the deceased's true desires. To prove undue influence, courts will consider evidence relating to (1) old age or illness; (2) whether the person signing the will lived under the control and supervision of the beneficiary; (3) whether the will replaced a prior will; (4) whether the will was made in favor of a non-relative; (5) whether family members were disinherited; and (6) whether the beneficiary hired a lawyer to draft the will or otherwise arranged for its creation.
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