Colorado Probate Blog - Wade Ash Woods Hill & Farley, P.C.

Make Sure Your Surviving Spouse is Provided for in Your Estate Plan

     The Colorado Probate Code affords a surviving spouse, who may be unintentionally omitted from his or her deceased spouse’s Will, an intestate share. The rationale for this provision of the Code is the presumption that the Decedent would have wanted the surviving spouse to receive his or her estate rather than beneficiaries named in a prior Will that predates the marriage.

Continue reading
  19 Hits
19 Hits

Aretha Franklin's Funky Wills

In May, three hand-written wills were found hidden in Aretha Franklin’s Detroit area home. Her family and lawyers previously thought she had died intestate. Two hand-written wills dated 2010 were found in a locked cabinet and third hand-written will dated 2014 was found under a couch in Ms. Franklin’s living room. The wills are difficult to follow. (Click here for example.) All three documents have been offered for probate as valid holographic wills. There is some question whether they are valid under Michigan law.

Continue reading
  51 Hits
51 Hits

Joint Income Tax Returns and Common-Law Marriage in Colorado

Colorado is one of about ten states that recognize common law marriage. In a 1987 case, People v. Lucero, the Colorado Supreme Court held that “common law marriage is established by the mutual consent or agreement of the parties to be husband and wife, followed by a mutual and open assumption of a marital relationship.” The couple’s agreement to be married need not be explicit and may be inferred from the couple’s conduct. Under Lucero, “[t]he two factors that most clearly show an intention to be married are cohabitation and a general understanding or reputation among persons in the community in which the couple lives that the parties hold themselves out as husband and wife.” The court listed a number of behaviors that a court may consider in analyzing those two factors: joint bank or credit accounts, joint ownership of other property, the woman’s use of the man’s surname, the use of the man’s surname by children born to the parties, and the filing of joint tax returns.

Continue reading
  121 Hits
121 Hits

“Sound Mind”, “Lucid Intervals” and “Insane Delusions” – What Does It All Mean?

Author and director William “Tim” Burton is quoted as saying, “They say that one person’s insanity is another person’s reality.” Recently, Wade Ash has been involved in several interesting cases involving testators suffering from cognitive impairment when they prepared their Will or Trust. Even persons who are declared mentally incompetent, incapacitated or suffering from various types of mental illness or addiction, may still have sufficient capacity to prepare a Will or Trust. A testator may even lack testamentary capacity, but still have “lucid intervals” enabling them to prepare a Will.

Continue reading
  166 Hits
166 Hits

Annual Review Checklist

January is the perfect time for the annual review of estate plans, particularly if you have had significant changes in your life such as deaths, relationships or assets. Here are a few questions to help get started.

Continue reading
  117 Hits
117 Hits

Phishing Isn't a Sport

Don't take the phishing bait...

Continue reading
  136 Hits
136 Hits

Community!

What is the city but the People...

Continue reading
  142 Hits
142 Hits

12 Days of Holiday Scams

12 scams you should be aware of this holiday season...

Continue reading
  147 Hits
147 Hits

Will Contests

The proponents of the Will have the initial burden of due execution, venue, and proof of death. The burden is on the contestant to show lack of testamentary capacity, fraud, undue influence, duress, mistake or revocation. However, undue influence cannot be inferred by motive and opportunity alone. There must be some evidence, either direct or circumstantial, to show that undue influence not only existed but also influenced the making of the Will.

I have always considered the two most important witnesses in a Will contest to be the drafting attorney and treating doctor.

Continue reading
  165 Hits
165 Hits

Cyber Monday, Black Friday - Good Deals?

Shop "smart" this holiday season.  Scammers are watching for you...

Continue reading
  154 Hits
154 Hits

Thinking About Moving to a Retirement Community?

Maybe your adult children have brought up the idea, or maybe you’ve had some discussions with friends about their moves to senior communities. Whatever the case may be, if you’re considering a move, be sure to plan well ahead and educate yourself about your options.

Continue reading
  164 Hits
164 Hits

Happy Halloween From the Dark Web

The more you know, the better off you are...

Continue reading
  179 Hits
179 Hits

New Initiatives Underway!

Alternatives to jail, specialty courts for women and veterans, and juvenile justice reform...

Continue reading
  158 Hits
158 Hits

Scammers Are Rotating Around Hurricane Florence

Do your research - know where you are sending your money...

Continue reading
  176 Hits
176 Hits

Scammers Can't Wait for Back-to-School

Keep your college-bound children safe from a scammer's trap...

Continue reading
  170 Hits
170 Hits

What’s So Bad About Donor-Advised Funds?

Last Friday, the New York Times published a very negative article about donor-advised funds (DAFs), calling them a “Philanthropic Loophole” in its headline and quoting a tax professor at the University of Southern California as calling DAFs “a fraud on the American taxpayer.” What, exactly, is a DAF, and are DAFs really so bad?

Continue reading
  341 Hits
341 Hits

National Emoji Day Beware the Smiling Emoji

The sinister aspect of emojis....

Continue reading
  217 Hits
217 Hits

“Just Say No!” Apps for Smartphone Addiction

It’s time to put the smartphone down. Did you know the average American checks their phone every 12 minutes? This means touching your phone roughly 2,617 times a day. For Millennials, who are in the top 10 percent of phone users, it’s 5,427 times a day. We are all so consumed with checking our Facebook or swiping to the left or to the right on Tinder, or constantly checking newsfeeds, that our phones control and flood every waking hour of our days. Recently, Apple and Google have designed a plan to incorporate a “digital wellness” app that can monitor and track the time you spend on your phone. In an experiment, Nick Fitz, a behavioral researcher at Duke University, tracked the usage of smartphones on over 200 people. Most of these people received 60 to 80 notifications on their phones daily. He eliminated the alerts they were receiving on their phones and their stress levels dropped and their concentration improved. However, he also saw an increase in their anxiety levels due to the fear of what they were missing out on. In order to relieve some of that anxiety, Fitz and a team of his researchers formulated a plan to batch and distribute the daily notifications into three groups – morning, day and night. In doing so, people with this app on their phones saw lower stress levels, higher levels of concentration and no increase in anxiety. Although we enjoy using technology and all that it has to offer, the next time you pick up your phone to check your notifications, consider how technology is using you.

  197 Hits
197 Hits

News of the Firm

We are pleased to announce that Herb Tucker, Laurie Hunter and Kevin Millard were recognized as 5280 Top Lawyers in Denver in 2018. Herb was recognized in the area of Probate Litigation, and Laurie and Kevin were recognized in the area of Estate Planning.

Continue reading
  241 Hits
241 Hits

The Future of Estate Planning

“Alexa, who can I contact to prepare my Will?” Does the future of estate planning fall into the hands of a cloud-based registry?

Continue reading
  258 Hits
258 Hits