Centennial Wills Attorneys
Serving Clients Throughout the Denver Area
Your last will and testament is a crucial piece of your estate plan. The document serves as a guide for your personal representative during the probate process, and the consequences of not drafting and executing one can be enormous. Without a valid will, any property not placed in a trust will be subject to Colorado’s intestate succession rules. You will have no influence over who receives your assets or who will care for your children.
Some people try to draft their wills without guidance from a lawyer, but it can be easy to overlook important details. At Skipton Law, we are committed to helping Coloradans build effective estate plans that work to protect their futures. This starts with the drafting of a comprehensive and enforceable will. Our Centennial wills lawyers have over a decade of experience and offers a high level of personal service. We will help you understand what this document can accomplish as well as what other estate planning tools can assist with asset distribution and protection. Our team is committed to providing you with a sense of relief and can help you make changes to your will throughout your lifetime.
What Can a Will Accomplish in Colorado?
In Colorado, your will allows you to name:
- A guardian to care for your minor children
- Beneficiaries to your assets
- A personal representative to manage the probate process on behalf of your estate
It is also important to recognize what a will cannot accomplish in Colorado as well as the instrument’s other limitations. Any asset named in a will must go through probate, meaning it cannot be immediately transferred to your chosen beneficiary. What you write in your will also becomes public, meaning anyone can review its contents after it is entered in court.
Any interested party also has the right to contest your will on one of several permitted grounds, such as undue influence or lack of capacity. A will contest will trigger substantial delays and, if successful, could result in the document being discarded altogether.
Despite these shortcomings, writing a will is an important part of estate planning. Your will can “catch” assets that are not placed in a trust at the time of your death. Additionally, only your will gives you the chance to request a guardian for your minor children.
Writing and Validating a Will in Colorado
To write an enforceable will in Colorado, you must be at least 18 years old and be “of sound mind,” meaning you must have the mental capacity to understand what the document accomplishes when you sign it. Your will must be in writing, but it can consist of a hard copy or electronic copy stored on a computer or some other device. Though handwritten wills are sometimes permitted, it is in your best interest to create a typewritten will.
Your will is not automatically enforceable, even if you meet the basic requirements discussed above. For a will to be valid in Colorado, you and two witnesses must sign the document. The witnesses (who must be “generally competent”) can only sign the will after they see you do so. They must sign within a reasonable timeframe after seeing you sign the document. These witnesses may be called upon to confirm the legitimacy of your will.
Alternatively, you can make your will “self-proving” by signing it in the presence of a notary. Doing so is not required in Colorado, but it can provide you with additional peace of mind. Our Centennial wills lawyers can help ensure your will is properly validated and enforceable.
Revoking or Changing Your Will in Colorado
You will almost certainly make changes to your will as you grow older. Your will should be reviewed every three to five years to verify that it is current with your wishes and existing law. You should also update your will whenever you experience a major life event, such as the birth of a child, a marriage, or a divorce.
When looking to make changes to your will, it is generally best to revoke your existing draft by creating a new one. You can technically adjust an existing draft without revoking it through the use of codicils, but writing and validating a new draft tends to be easier. When you validate a new will that contradicts any provision of an older draft, the newer document automatically replaces the older one. You can also revoke your will at any time by destroying the document.
Our Centennial wills lawyers at Skipton Law can help you review and update all of your estate planning documents as your circumstances change. We will advise you of any relevant changes to the law and recommend other adjustments that support your current goals and preferences.
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