Probate Litigation and Guardianship Attorney in Broomfield, Colorado
Managing a loved one’s affairs following their death is never easy. Apart from dealing with the loss, you may also need to navigate the complex probate administration process. You may feel overwhelmed at all that needs to be done to manage the decedent’s assets and debts.
While the task of distributing the estate happens during probate, it doesn’t always happen smoothly as planned. Sometimes disagreements arise among heirs, beneficiaries, and other family members occur during the process. Probate litigation may be necessary when the interested parties can’t work out an agreement and need the oversight and authority of a judge. Throughout this trying time, it’s important to have a credible Colorado estate planning lawyer on your side, one who can patiently help you understand the ins and outs of the probate process.
Why Do I Need a Probate Litigation and Guardianship Lawyer in Colorado?
Dealing with a dispute over your loved one’s estate can cause a great deal of anxiety. When a legal contest arises during the probate process, don’t let the stress add to your grief. Let our reliable Broomfield probate litigation and guardianship lawyers work to defend your rights, interests, and the legacy that your loved one has left behind.
At The Law Office of Clark Daniel Dray, we have extensive experience in helping numerous clients navigate complex contested probate litigation as family members, guardians, conservators, personal representatives, or trustees. Whether you are challenging an existing estate or require assistance when handling a passed individual’s estate, we are here to provide you with the strong legal representation you deserve. We will carefully handle your case while fighting for your best interests. Contact us now and schedule a free initial consultation to know more about your legal options.
What is Probate Litigation?
Under probate law, a probate court will identify the assets of the deceased, decide on the payment of taxes and other expenses, and distribute the property among legal heirs as provided in the will or intestate succession rules. Probate is a process under which the court appoints an individual, known as a personal representative, to administer and distribute the estate. In most cases, these matters can be handled without conflict. However, there are times when a legal contest arises, probate litigation becomes necessary.
Probate litigation is the procedure where court action is requested to settle a dispute. A legal battle over a deceased loved one’s will can be an extremely stressful and painful experience. While good estate planning can help prevent this situation, sometimes probate litigation is unavoidable. If you need help with probate litigation, consult with our skilled Broomfield probate litigation and guardianship attorney to guide you through the process.
What are the Common Probate Litigation Issues?
Probate litigation may stem from various legal challenges that arise during probate. There are many circumstances in which individuals may choose to pursue probate litigation. While you might not be able to avoid it, knowing the common probate issues can help you be prepared during your estate planning. A knowledgeable Broomfield CO probate litigation and guardianship attorney can help you deal with the different probate litigation issues.
Breach of Fiduciary Responsibilities
A fiduciary is an individual serving as a personal representative of an estate, a trustee of a trust, or an agent under a power of attorney. Unfortunately, there are situations in which a fiduciary is suspected of not acting in a beneficiary’s best interest. Sometimes the people entrusted with managing the assets of an estate or trust commit fraud.
Regardless of the intention, failing to fulfill a fiduciary duty can have big consequences for an estate or trust and, ultimately, its beneficiaries. If you suspect a fiduciary of mismanaging a loved one’s trust or estate. In that case, it’s important to seek legal advice from a competent Broomfield probate litigation and guardianship lawyer to help you find a solution. Breaches of fiduciary responsibilities may include failing to distribute estate assets according to the provisions of the will, wasting estate assets, or engaging in self-dealing.
When contesting a will, a party (usually a beneficiary under the will) tries to challenge the validity of a will or specific provisions in a will. Sometimes a will, trust, or estate plan may contain mistakes or omissions that need to be addressed. They can contest if they believe the will isn’t valid due to suspicious circumstances. The party challenging a will may argue that a will was not validly executed by the decedent or does not conform to legal requirements under state law. The probate court will make the final decision in determining the validity of the last will and testament.
Common grounds for contesting a will in Colorado include:
A party may also contest the deceased’s estate plan by alleging that the decedent lacked testamentary capacity when they executed their estate planning documents. If a family member believes the deceased was not of sound mind when the will was created and signed, then a family member might challenge the will.
Failure of Formality
If the testator (the person who created the will) failed to follow Colorado requirements for formality, then that can create grounds to contest. For instance, if the will was not signed in compliance with state law, then the will is considered invalid.
One of the most well-known reasons for disputing a trust or contesting a will is undue influence. It involves fraud, coercion, or the abuse of a position of trust with the decedent by a party that then benefits from the decedent’s estate planning, usually to the detriment of other beneficiaries and heirs. If a family member believes the deceased was coerced or pressured into including or excluding certain individuals in his/her will, then that can be grounds to contest.
Contested Guardianships and Conservatorships
If your loved one demonstrates signs of being unable to care for him- or herself, you may need to take action to ensure that someone will be looking out for their interests at all times. Colorado law allows people to act in place of and make important decisions for those who are deemed incapable of making sound decisions for themselves. The two legal instruments that give this authority are called guardianships and conservatorships.
In case a person becomes mentally incapacitated and does not have a power of attorney, probate litigation can be requested to determine who becomes the legal guardian of the person and her belongings. Guardianship allows one to make major decisions that would impact the person’s well-being. The probate court will consider the needs of the ward and will decide on the suitability of an adult guardian.
Contests over guardianship and conservatorship often arise when family members disagree about who should be appointed to these roles and/or when a present guardian or conservator is suspected of abuse or fraud. Through mediation and litigation, our qualified Broomfield probate litigation and guardianship lawyer can handle disputes over who should be appointed, the scope of that person’s authority, and whether a guardian or conservator should be appointed at all.
Call Our Experienced Broomfield Probate Litigation and Guardianship Lawyer Now!
Nobody wants to fight over a loved one’s estate after their death. However, there are times when disagreements arise among beneficiaries, heirs, and other family members during the probate process. Probate litigation may be necessary to resolve the dispute and move forward.
Solving complex probate and estate administration issues requires legal knowledge, resources, and considerable litigation skills. You need to have an in-depth understanding of the specific laws for your state and county, and how they may apply based on your unique situation. Our seasoned Broomfield probate litigation and guardianship attorneys at The Law Office of Clark Daniel Dray will provide you with the individualized attention you deserve and develop a tailored legal strategy aimed at achieving your specific needs and goals.
Our estate planning law firm has successfully handled numerous probate litigation cases in Broomfield, Boulder, Denver, Littleton, Louisville, and its surrounding areas. We will review the details of your dispute and work toward a resolution that brings you peace of mind during such a difficult time. Schedule a free initial consultation with our Colorado estate planning attorneys today to know how we can help protect you and your loved ones.