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Do you need to disinherit someone?

If you are in the difficult situation where you need to disinherit someone, it can be difficult to know where to start. This decision can significantly impact your family and you should not make it lightly. With the help of a legal and financial advisor, you can ensure that your estate goes to the right place.

What will you need to change your will?

Removing a beneficiary is not a simple edit to your will. Trying to do it yourself without legal help can invalidate your entire will. To remove a beneficiary you will need the following:

  • Your original will.
  • A sound mind.
  • A notary or person who oversees the process and signs if you are unable.
  • Two additional financially uninterested witnesses.

Are there exceptions in Colorado?

Colorado recognizes your right to will your money to the person of your choosing. However, it also protects the inheritance rights of individuals. These protected individuals include:

  • Spouses: Spouses can almost always inherit. Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements might override a spouse’ rights to inheritance.
  • Unincluded or disinherited spouses: These individuals can elect to inherit a minimum amount of 5 percent and up to 50 percent of your estate for every year you were married.
  • Children who are minors: These individuals can elect to receive the average state minimum.
  • Children born after the will was created: These individuals are also entitled to the average state minimum.

What are potential consequences of this decisions?

If a disinherited beneficiary feels that it is unfair they were left out of the will, they may drag your family through an extensive legal battle. They may choose to contest the will on the grounds of any of the following:

  • Improper execution
  • Lack of testamentary capacity (that you were not of sound mind)
  • Undue influence

The legal fees from a court battle could quickly drain your estate and your other beneficiaries of their inheritance. This could cause a further breakdown of family relationships. If you choose to disinherit someone, do so carefully. You might unintentionally leave a legacy of distrust and discontent.

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