What did the late musician Jimi Hendrix, “Painter of Light” artist Thomas Kinkade, eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes and “Queen of Mean” businesswoman Leona Helmsley all have in common? Their passing each resulted in extensive battles over their estates – a flood of people who sued for claims to pieces of their fortunes. Some lost, some won.
When you die, your estate enters probate and is divided among your heirs pursuant to the laws of intestacy if you do not have a will. However, even if you do have a valid will, during the probate process a person with legal standing who feels he or she should be a recipient of part of your estate can contest your wishes and challenge your will.
Estates of All Sizes are Subject to Litigation
A person with legal standing has the right to dispute the validity of your will or contest the administration of your estate. This is part of estate litigation and it’s common for estates of any size (not just the rich and famous). Estate litigation can be pursued by:
- Current and past spouses
- Children or grandchildren
- Other family members
- Business partners
Common Reasons for Estate Litigation
These individuals can claim a variety of reasons why they are contesting the will:
- The will was created or modified under the influence of a beneficiary
- The person was not of sound mind when it was created
- The will was invalid
- There are conflicting versions of the will
- An agent under power of attorney for the deceased or the executor of the estate breached his or her fiduciary duty
- The person has a legitimate claim to part of the assets
Estate litigation can get ugly, but having an experienced probate litigator on your side can make the process as smooth as possible. Spencer Crona is a Denver estate litigation lawyer at The Brown Law Firm LLC who serves as an advocate for his clients.
If you find yourself in the center of an estate dispute and need help contesting a will in Denver, contact The Brown Law Firm LLC at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to schedule a meeting.