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Contesting a will for being left out of it

A Colorado estate owner who signs a last will and testament may make changes, updates or deletions as desired, provided he or she is of sound mind. There are many cases where a person who believed he or she was named as an heir or beneficiary in another person’s will was then surprised to find out at the time of administration that his or her name had been removed or left out altogether. In certain circumstances, this type of issue may lead to litigation.

If a person believes that someone has tampered with a last will and testament or that an estate owner was under duress, for instance, and then removed a name, it is helpful to obtain copies of the current will and any previous versions of it. It is also a good idea to request a list of the decedent’s assets. Anyone requesting to do so, however, would need to show legitimate reason for the request.

When a person determines that he or she has grounds to contest a will, it may take several months or longer to resolve the issue in a probate court. In such situations, the person contesting a will must provide evidence to the court that his or her name is listed on previously signed documents. If the court is convinced by the evidence, the judge overseeing the case may rule that the current will is invalid.

A person who believes that his or her name was supposed to have been included in a Colorado decedent’s will but was not, or was and later removed, does not necessarily have grounds to file a contest. An estate owner is free to delete any named heirs or beneficiaries at will. What would make a will invalid is if the removal took place when the estate owner was no longer of sound mind or was under duress from another person or group of people. An experienced probate attorney can provide strong support to anyone preparing to challenge a will.