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Probate contest in Denver please advise


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#1 anglewords

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:07 AM

Please advise whether I have reasonable cause to seek legal representation over the following: My mother died at age 82 on Sept. 13, 2012 in Denver, where she had lived alone in her own home for many years. She left no spouse nor any minor children. I am her only surviving child.
I am age 60. I have lived in Calif. for the past 20 years. Prior to that, I lived in Denver. I have one adult son who lives in Denver. My mother had no siblings and has no living parents, aunts, or uncles.

The Situation:
- In the past, the hospital or convalescent. facility had always informed me if and when my mother was admitted, but this last time, she was taken to a different facility, and it was there that she died.
- Nobody notified me when my mother’s condition worsened, nor was I notified of her death and subsequent cremation. All of her possessions were removed from her house by an acquaintance of hers.
- On Nov. 8, I received in the mail, from the same acquaintance, an envelope containing: 1) a copy of a document, dated July 23, 2012, representing my mother’s “Will”; 2) Denver Probate Court forms announcing the same acquaintance’s petition to appoint herself as personal administrator to my mother’s “Will”; and 3) a brief note indicating that this same acquaintance intended to keep all of my mother’s possessions.

The Will:
- no witnesses' signatures.
- the portions that are hand-written are not in my mother’s writing (my mother had severe RA, and could not have written it), but there is no indication as to who did write it.
- crucial information is missing, such as the existence and/or names of her one surviving child and one surviving grandchild.
- page 4 is missing.
- “Residuary estate” states that the same acquaintance is to receive 100% of all my mother’s property, real, personal, etc.

To the best of my knowledge, my mother’s estate contains:
- a house with a reverse mortgage
- an automobile
- furniture, household items, personal items
- bank account and small investment account
- estimate total value being less than $50,000 after the reverse mortgage is paid off.

#2 Fallen

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:35 AM

You don't need "reasonable cause" to consult or hire an attorney; if you want one, you consult one.

I'd engage probate-estate counsel in Denver about contesting the validity of the will.

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#3 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:08 PM

I agree with the previous poster, you may want to use the Denver, Colorado Probate and Estate Administration Lawyers Directory to locate a local lawyer willing to address your claim.

#4 pg1067

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:30 PM

Please advise whether I have reasonable cause to seek legal representation over the following


Interpreting this question as asking whether I think it would be a good idea at least to consult with an attorney, the answer is yes.


I am her only surviving child.


Did she have other children who predeceased her? If so, did any of those predeceased children have children who are living? If so, you probably should involve those persons in your decision making process.


On Nov. 8, I received in the mail, from the same acquaintance, an envelope containing: 1) a copy of a document, dated July 23, 2012, representing my mother’s “Will”; 2) Denver Probate Court forms announcing the same acquaintance’s petition to appoint herself as personal administrator to my mother’s “Will”; and 3) a brief note indicating that this same acquaintance intended to keep all of my mother’s possessions.


As to point #1, I assume you meant to say that this woman is contending that the document in question is your mother's will. As to the second point, it's a petition asking that the court appoint her as administrator. She cannot "appoint herself."


The Will:
- no witnesses' signatures.


As far as I can tell from a VERY quick review of the applicable Colorado statutes, the lack of witness signatures will be fatal to any claim that the will is valid.


- the portions that are hand-written are not in my mother’s writing (my mother had severe RA, and could not have written it)


I have no idea what "RA" is, but it could be difficult or impossible to prove that the writing is not your mothers.


- crucial information is missing, such as the existence and/or names of her one surviving child and one surviving grandchild.


Neither of those pieces of information is the slightest bit "crucial."


- page 4 is missing.


Rather obviously, you can call or write this person and inform her that the copy you received was missing page 4 and ask for a copy.


- “Residuary estate” states that the same acquaintance is to receive 100% of all my mother’s property, real, personal, etc.


There's an implication here that the will makes some specific gifts -- i.e., that it says something like: "I leave $50,000 to the American Cancer Association, and I leave the residuary of my estate to my good friend Jane Smith."


To the best of my knowledge, my mother’s estate contains


I'm guessing you included this information so that we can opine whether it would be worthwhile to contest the validity of the will. That's a call only you can make, and you cannot intelligently make a decision without speaking with a Colorado probate attorney. Since the probate process has begun, you should do so ASAP.

#5 anglewords

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:36 PM

I am, and have always been, an only child. RA = rheumatoid arthritis. It causes severe deformities in the joints of the hands. I called the person, but she was so hostile to me that it was impossible to carry on a conversation. I am still in shock. I have done nothing to her. Can she legally take everything out of my mother's home and hide it away, based on her petition for administration of the probate? Thank you so very much for all of the comments. I appreciate everyone's help so much.

#6 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:35 PM

Until appointed as administrator of the estate, she should not have taken any property of the decedent, although it is not a problem for her to simply secure the property to preserve it for probate. From what you've written, there may indeed be a good basis to contest the will. See a Denver area probate attorney for help with this. Denver county is the only one in the state with its own separate probate court, so you want an attorney familiar with the proceedings in that special court.




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