Will contests: Challenging the validity of a will in Colorado court

Colorado law allows an interested person to challenge a will’s validity in court based on any of several grounds.

In Colorado, a person may object to a will's validity if he or she has an interest in the estate that would be negatively impacted if the will's instructions were carried out. In effect, if a will is found invalid, the estate will pass either under an older, valid will or, if none exists, according to the state laws of intestacy - those that provide for how property is to pass to heirs when no legal will exists.

A will contest is filed in Colorado state court and Colorado law allows a party to a will contest to request that factual issues be decided by a jury.

Some of the bases on which a will may be found invalid in Colorado are:

  • Formal will execution requirements were not met such as those concerning signing, witnessing or notarizing.
  • The will was revoked such as by a later valid will or codicil, destruction or in certain other circumstances.
  • The testator did not have testamentary capacity at the time the will was signed, meaning he or she understood the will's function and that he or she was making one, the identity of his or her family and the nature and extent of his or her property.
  • The testator (person making the will) did not have testamentary intent, meaning the testator did not actually intend to dispose of his or her property through the will after death.
  • The person making the will was under an insane delusion concerning the act of executing the will.
  • The will was the product of undue influence, meaning that the testator's free will had been improperly overtaken by another person's controlling words or conduct, such that the will did not represent the testator's true choices.
  • The decisions made in the will were impacted by fraudulent behavior of another.
  • The testator was under duress at the time of execution such as by the coercion of another person.
  • The testator executed the will under some kind of mistaken belief.

Colorado law controlling will contests is complex and any interested person who believes that a will may not be valid or who is defending a will against a legal challenge should seek the advice and representation of an experienced probate attorney to protect his or her legal interests in the matter.

The lawyers of Glatstein & O'Brien LLP in Denver represent clients filing or defending will contests in the Denver metro area and across the Front Range, as well as out-of-state parties with interests in Colorado will contests.