In Colorado, there are two ways in which a will can be offered for probate—formal and informal. With formal probate, a beneficiary or heir must object to the probate of the will at or prior to the hearing. Once a Court has granted formal probate of a will, a beneficiary or heir typically cannot object to the will. With informal probate, an heir or beneficiary can object to the will any time before the estate is closed. Typically, time is of the essence when it comes to deciding on whether or not to object to a will. The longer you wait, the more your options may be limited. Probate law varies from state to state so the courts will determine the validity of the challenge based on certain parameters.
Situations that May Warrant Contesting a Will After Probate
Let’s say that six months after your mother’s estate is opened with the probate court, you are cleaning out her home in Denver and discover a will that was created and dated later than the one the courts informally admitted to probate. In this new will, she has entitled you to receive a larger portion of her estate than you were originally given in the old will which was admitted to probate. In this case, hiring a Colorado probate lawyer would be recommended to bring this new will to light and begin filing the appropriate paperwork with the probate courts.
In a completely different scenario, let’s say you discovered you were closely related to the deceased (a long-lost child, for example) and you were not included in the intestacy proceeding. You may have recourse to receive a portion of the estate if the probate courts feel you have a valid claim.
Of course, if you suspect any type of wrongdoing, fraud or criminal conduct surrounding the validity of the will or provisions within the will, these may be grounds for contesting the will after probate.
Contests are Not Guaranteed
Just because you have the ability to contest a will, this does not guarantee that the probate courts will agree with your challenge and grant your wishes. The other beneficiaries will most likely not go down without a fight and the process can drag on for years. The longer you wait to file your action and the longer the process goes, the harder it will be to recoup assets.
If you are considering contesting a will after probate in Colorado, you need a legal team on your side to get the process started quickly; collect, file and follow-up on paperwork and make sure you are acting out of quantifiable reasons and not emotions. The Denver probate litigation lawyers at Brown & Crona, LLC can help. Contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to meet with our experts.