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How do you know it's time to challenge a loved one's will?

In many families, it is common for older adults to talk openly about their estate plans and last wishes. Although it is of critical importance that everyone has a legally binding last will or estate plan, it is equally important that your family members understand what your wishes are.

If a loved one doesn't communicate clearly about their estate wishes, that could lead to frustration and anger. They need to make certain that loved ones are ready for the contents of their last will. If you are the beneficiary of an estate plan or last well, your obligations are different.

You may need to pay close attention when your loved one brings up what they want done with their assets when they die. Don't let discomfort about the topic make you avoid that important conversation. Failing to listen could cause big problems. If you do know your loved one's wishes, you should want to ensure that the estate complies with those known wishes.

Take action if a last will doesn't reflect your loved one's plans

In many families, the most important aspect of a last will is the ability to leave something behind for spouses, children or other dependent family members. You may already understand that your loved one's intention is to leave everything equally split between their surviving spouse and their children. Perhaps your loved one expressed a desire to leave a portion of their assets to charity.

Regardless of what those wishes were, you might find yourself feeling surprised when you finally read the last will or estate plan of your loved one. It is common for people to feel shocked by last-minute changes, especially if those changes contradict years of openly stated intentions. The more questionable the changes and the worse the health of your loved one at the time of the revision, the greater the reason to consider the situation.

Can you challenge the will for undue influence or lack of capacity?

When challenging a will in Colorado, you need to have legal grounds. You can't just bring a challenge because you are unhappy with the terms. If you believe that a beneficiary added at the end of your loved one's life manipulated them to secure inclusion or to obtain a larger percentage of their estate, that could be a reason to suspect undue influence.

Caregivers, whether they are part of your family or not, can place a lot of pressure on someone in declining health. In some cases, older adults may not feel like they have the option of refusing someone's demands about their estate as it could impact the quality of care they receive in their old age.

It is also possible that someone took advantage of your loved one's declining physical and mental abilities to manipulate them into setting terms that benefited them in the last will. If your loved one suffered from cognitive impairment or any kind of degenerative condition, it may be possible to demonstrate that they did not have the mental capacity to change their will. Both undue influence and lack of capacity are reasonable grounds for a challenge against an estate plan or last will in Colorado.

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