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

“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.

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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.

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Electronic Wills-Dispensing With Pen and Paper (Part I)

Will Requirements

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Colorado's New Law: The End-of-Life Options Act

This election season was full of interesting contests and a few surprises. If you were following the issues in Colorado, you saw an array of familiar ballot initiatives dealing with legalized marijuana, funding for the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, and of course, heated contests between diametrically opposed candidates. But you also saw the passage of a ballot initiative that will only directly affect a limited portion of the population, but is intended to provide that small group with an alternative to suffering through a painful terminal illness.

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Funky Holographic Wills

Since the beginning of recorded history, people have created plans for testamentary disposition of their property. The drafting and execution of wills were codified and formalized in the Statutes of Wills of 1540, the Statutes of Frauds (1677) and the Wills Act of 1837. The formalities demanded by those laws are still observed in the current law of wills. Nonetheless, cognizant of the fact that some wills are made in haste and in the testator’s own handwriting, the law of wills historically has included provisions for validation of handwritten (holographic) wills.

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