Preparation of Wills in Colorado

What Is The Need Of A Will?

Writing a will is probably one of the most important things you should do because it lets you choose who will receive your assets when you die. You can't choose who gets your property if you don't have a will. Instead, the state of Colorado will decide how to divide your property. It's a flexible document because it doesn't affect you until you die, so you can change it whenever you want. If you don't have any living relatives when you die, the state won't let your money go to a friend, a favorite charity, or anyone else who isn't related to you. Most likely, the property will go to the state instead.

Some types of will include:

  • Holographic will - These are handwritten wills that are often used as a last resort in emergencies. In Colorado, handwritten wills must be dated and signed by you and two witnesses who are not beneficiaries or by a Notary Public.
  • Joint will - Spouses make Joint Wills to jointly agree on how the property of both spouses will be dispersed after either of them dies and when the survivor dies. The goal is to prevent a survivor from changing how the survivor's inheritance is distributed after the first spouse dies.
  • Testamentary will - This kind of will is made ahead of time, and you sign it in front of witnesses. It is the most common type and often the best way to protect your estate.
  • Pour-over will - This sort of will is ideal if you intend to leave your possessions to a previously established trust when you die.
  • Oral will - This is a spoken will made in front of witnesses. Oral or nuncupative wills are not recognized under Colorado law.

What If Someone Dies Without A Will?

If you die without a will in Colorado, your property will be distributed as per the state’s intestacy laws. The intestacy law in Colorado distributes your property to your closest relatives, beginning with your spouse and children. If you do not have a spouse or children, your property will be passed down to your grandchildren or parents. This list expands to include increasingly distant relatives such as siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and so on. The state will seize your property if the court searches this list and discovers that you have no living relatives by blood or marriage.

Do You Need An Attorney To Prepare A Will?

There are now a lot of services that let you make your own will with software or online. These programs might work well for people with few or no assets, small savings or investments, and a traditional family tree, but most people shouldn't use them.

You'll likely need a lawyer to determine whether your needs are simple or not. Does your estate have to pay taxes at the state or federal level? Do you have a lot of money in tax-free retirement plans? Is there anything unusual about your estate, like having children from a previous marriage or a child with special needs? See a lawyer if you have any questions about your estate plan. If you don't hire a lawyer, your estate administration could take longer, cost more money, and cause your heirs trouble.

What Are The Will Requirements In Colorado?

The state of Colorado requires you to sign your will in the presence of two witnesses. If you change or update your will, ensure all copies reflect the changes and are signed by the two witnesses. The state of Colorado does not recognize oral or nuncupative wills.

Other will validation rules include:

  • You must be 18 years or older
  • When you sign your will, you must be of sound mind.
  • You can't be under duress when creating the will, which means you were not forced to make any decisions.

Does A Will Need To Be Notarized?

In Colorado, it is not required to notarize your will to make it legal if you have two witnesses sign it. Although, you can acknowledge it in front of a notary if you do not want to use witnesses.

In Colorado, you can go to a notary and make your will self-proving. When a will is self-proving, the court can accept it without calling witnesses, speeding up the probate process. To make your will self-proving, you and your witnesses will go to the notary and sign affidavits establishing who you are and that each of you knew you were signing the will.

Why You Should Name An Executor In Your Will

After your demise, your assets will not automatically be handed over to their new owners, even if you have a written will. It happens through a legal process known as probate in a local probate court in your respective county.

The probate process is managed by a will executor (commonly called a "personal representative" in Colorado); usually, someone named in the will itself. If you do not have a will or have not named an executor in the will, the court will appoint one.

In Colorado, the probate process can be completed without a court hearing. The personal representative has several responsibilities once appointed.

  • Collecting any outstanding debts and life insurance policies
  • Paying bills for the estate
  • Filing the decedent's final tax returns
  • Distributing property according to the will
  • Making probate court appearances

How To Alter A Will

If you need to change your will, you can do so by adding a codicil that includes your signature and any relevant witness signatures required by state law. You can also completely rewrite your will if it requires more than a minor change.

You must note changes to your will's executor or beneficiaries among the updates. However, the Colorado law does not require you to notify these people that their role in your will has changed, and this information is not disclosed to them unless you die and they are still named in your will.

How Can A Will Be Revoked?

In Colorado, you have the right to revoke or change your will at any time. To revoke a will, you must burn, tear, cancel, obliterate, or destroy in part or whole. Or you can make a new will with terms that contradict your last will. Even if the second will says that the first will is null and void, the first will still be revoked.

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