Skip to the main content.
Free Case Review




green lock security thumb

green lock security thumb



green lock security thumb

green lock security thumb



2 min read

Challenging the Validity of a Will: The Supreme Court's Decision

challenging the validity of a will

Linda Lou Craig, the granddaughter and sole heir of Lulu Ann King, is currently challenging the validity of her grandmother's will, citing concerns of testamentary capacity and undue influence during the execution of the will. Despite Craig's efforts, the trial court initially denied her motion to vacate the order admitting the will to probate, a decision which was later affirmed by the Colorado Court of Appeals. However, the Supreme Court of Colorado stepped in and reversed the lower court's ruling, stating that the trial court had abused its discretion in determining that Craig's delay in objecting to the probate of the will was not excusable. As a result, the objections to probate will now be considered on their merits.

Craig argues that a balancing test should be implemented to evaluate excusable neglect, meritorious defense, and potential prejudice to the involved parties. The court emphasizes the significance of considering all these factors together in order to make a well-informed decision. Additionally, the court highlights the importance of finality in judgments, while also acknowledging the need for flexibility when evaluating a motion to vacate an order of probate.

Upon reviewing the evidence related to the three criteria for setting aside a default judgment, the court finds that there are sufficient allegations of a meritorious objection to the admission of the will to probate. Moreover, there is no indication of prejudice resulting from setting aside the order of probate. Consequently, the court concludes that the trial court made an error in determining that Craig did not fulfill the excusable neglect criterion.

The court further delves into the reasons behind a rule of liberality in evaluating motions to set aside default judgments, particularly in the context of probate proceedings. Additionally, the court discusses the requirements for establishing a meritorious defense.

Linda Lou Craig's challenge to the validity of her grandmother's will is based on her belief that her grandmother lacked testamentary capacity and was under undue influence. The court's decision to reverse the lower court's ruling means that the objections to probate will now be considered on their merits.

The court also explores the relationship between Linda Lou Craig and her grandmother, Lulu Ann King, highlighting their infrequent contact. Furthermore, the court examines evidence suggesting that Lulu Ann King may have experienced mental instability, including her visions of "black men" or "black riders."

In criticizing the trial judge's decision to deny Linda Lou Craig's motion to set aside the order of probate, the court points out that the judge failed to apply the appropriate criteria. Specifically, the court argues that the trial judge abused his discretion by considering extraneous factors such as the fairness of the will distribution scheme.

Ultimately, the court reverses the trial court's decision and remands the case to the court of appeals for further proceedings.