On April 12, 2016

Red Flags the Will May NOT Be Valid

Red Flags the Will May NOT Be Valid

When a loved one passes away and it’s time to settle his estate, locating and probating the will can be top priorities.

Just because you may find a will following a loved one’s death, however, does not necessarily mean that the document is valid or legally binding. And understanding some of the red flags of invalid wills can be critical to carrying out a loved one’s wishes – and knowing appropriately settling his estate.

A Will May Be Invalid If…

  1. It’s missing the signature of the testator – For a will to be valid in Colorado, the willmaker (i.e., the testator) must have signed the will in front of witnesses. While there are some rare exceptions to this (such as in the event a testator is physically unable to sign the will), no form of signature from the testator on the will should be considered a big red flag that you are not dealing with a legitimate will.
  2. There are no witness signatures – Another legal requirement for wills in Colorado is that two witnesses watch the testator authorize the will and then they themselves also sign the will. So, if the will does not have the signatures of two witnesses, then again, the chances are it’s not valid.
  3. The witnesses do not meet Colorado’s legal requirements – Not just anyone can be a witness to the authorization of the will, as Colorado laws require that these witnesses be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. Additionally, witnesses can generally not be beneficiaries of the will. So, if either of the witnesses does not meet these fundamental requirements, again, the will may not be valid.
  4. There’s a newer version of the will in existence – Generally, any newer version of a will that has been executed will supersede any previous versions (and, commonly, wills contain clauses stating something to this effect). So, if you are aware that a newer version of a will has been executed and you find an older version, you can bet the older version will not be considered valid by the probate court.
  5. The will is dated during a period when the testator’s mental capacity was questionable – Another requirement for wills to be valid in Colorado is that they are created by testators who are “of sound mind” when they developed and executed the will. So, if the will is dated during a period when it’s known that the testator was suffering from some mental incapacity, again, you may be dealing with an invalid will.

Don’t Know If The Will Is Legit? Contact a Denver Will Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

If you need help validating – or challenging the validity of – a will, you can turn to the Denver will attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC. We provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ legal needs, and we take pride in helping each of our clients and their families find the best solutions for them.

To discuss your situation and options during an initial consultation, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Drafting Wills, Estate Administration, Estate Planning, Probate, Probate Litigation, Will Contests