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2 common reasons Colorado estates face probate litigation

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2023 | Trust And Probate Estate Litigation |

The Colorado probate courts oversee the administration of estates. If someone dies without a will, probate courts help with intestate succession, which allows for the transfer of assets to specific beneficiaries in accordance with state law. If someone provides instructions about the distribution of their property after they die, the probate courts can oversee that administration process to protect the interests of beneficiaries and others who should receive property from the estate.

Occasionally, the probate courts will have to resolve disputes that arise related to someone’s assets after they die. Probate litigation is often expensive, and it can delay the transfer of resources to beneficiaries. People would often prefer to avoid such litigation at all costs. Knowing what causes potentially costly and consequential disputes can help testators and their loved ones reduce the chance of a probate conflict. The two scenarios below are among the most common reasons for estates to end up embroiled in probate court litigation.

Concerns about testamentary documents

Family members and beneficiaries sometimes feel shocked to hear what their loved one wanted to do with their assets when they died. Sometimes there is reason for people to suspect that a third party influenced the estate plan by exerting undue influence on the testator. Other times, people may believe that the decedent no longer had the capacity to create legally-binding paperwork when they put together their final estate plan. Concerns about fraud and terms that violate state law could also lead to family members challenging a will and potentially convincing the Colorado probate courts to invalidate or disregard someone’s testamentary paperwork.

Issues with an executor

The executor or personal representative of the estate is either someone chosen by the testator or appointed by the courts to handle estate administration. They submit paperwork to the courts, send notice to parties with an interest in the estate and distribute assets in accordance with estate instructions and state law. If an executor deviates from their obligations to the estate, possibly by embezzling or failing to take crucial steps, family members can challenge them and ask the courts to replace them with someone better able to do the job.

Sometimes, probate litigation is truly necessary to uphold someone’s last wishes and protect their beneficiaries. Understanding the common causes of probate litigation may help people better evaluate their personal circumstances and weigh whether pursuing legal action is warranted.