How To Create A Will In Colorado

October 21, 2021

How To Create A Will In Colorado

A Last Will and Testament (will) is an important estate planning document that every person, regardless of financial status, should consider creating. Many people make the mistake of putting off their will until a later date; this is a huge mistake, as we are never guaranteed tomorrow. Whether a person is 18 or 80, the ideal time to create a will is now. Johnson Law Group provides legal guidance to ensure your rights are protected. Those who desire more information regarding how to create a will in Colorado can reach out to our experienced legal team today at (720) 463-4333 or text (720) 730-4558.

Requirements for Creating a Will in Colorado

The individual creating the will is known as the "testator." In Colorado, specific legal requirements apply to both the testator and the actual will. The testator must:

  • Be 18 years or older and of sound mind. This basically means that the testator creating the will is aware of their actions and has no doubt regarding their mental capacity at the moment the will is signed. The testator should be mentally aware of the type of property they own, and who they are leaving their property to upon their death. Those who suffer from dementia or other issues that affect their memory and state of mind can create a will if it is signed at the moment the testator is lucid (of sound mind).

According to the Colorado Bar Association the actual will itself must be:

  • In writing
  • Signed by the testator, or by another person who is under the testator's direction and in their conscious presence
  • Whether before or following the testator's death, signed by a minimum of two people who witnessed the testator's signing, or witnessed the testator's acknowledgement of the will or signature: or
  • The testator acknowledges the will in front of a notary public or other person permitted under law to accept acknowledgements

There are certain rules and exceptions to the above, however these are the general requirements for creating a will in Colorado. A will must be typed or handwritten (holographic).

Checklist For Creating a Will

Before creating a will, it is important to consider what property is involved along with who will inherit certain property, assets, heirlooms, etc. Examples of things to consider include but are not limited to:

  • What property to include (real estate, business, jewelry, retirement accounts, pension benefits, cars, bonds, insurance policies and other assets)
  • Who will be the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the property
  • Who will take care of the estate (executor)
  • Who will be a guardian for any children involved
  • Who will manage the property left to minor children

There are some property distribution exceptions to keep in mind. These include:

  • Property that is held jointly with the right of survivorship
  • Proceeds of IRA accounts and life insurance policies which regardless of what a will states is passed on directly to any named beneficiaries
  • Surviving spouse is granted $26,000 in property or cash from the estate; this amount passes on the surviving children in equal amounts when there is no living spouse

These are some of the factors to consider when making a will. It is important to use clear, concise language when creating a will so that it is easily and correctly understood.

Complications of Not Having a Will

When someone dies without a will in Colorado, property is distributed among those closest to the decedent. This usually means a spouse, children, or other close relatives. Grandparents or parents will be given property when there are no children or spouse. When there are no "close" or immediate relatives, assets may end up the property of cousins or other distant relatives. Essentially, a person's property can end up the property of the state if it is determined there are no living blood or marriage relatives. By creating a will, you protect your property, loved ones, and family. A will is used to:

  • Name a personal guardian when minor children need to be taken care of following death
  • Leave all types of property to family members, friends, charities, or other organizations
  • Designate a person the testator trusts to manage property left to minor children
  • Designate an individual who will be responsible for ensuring the terms of the will are carried out

How to Create a Will in Colorado Online

There are many templates available online for making a will, however, in many cases these wills may not be legally valid under the law. For example, electronic or "digital" wills that exist only online are not allowed. After creating a will online, it must be printed out as a paper copy. There are other requirements that a will must have under state guidelines, and if the online will that a person creates does not follow those exactly, the will is considered invalid. If you are interested in creating a will or any estate planning document, feel free to contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Johnson Law Group with any questions you may have.

Secure Storage of a Will

Writing a will is essential to protecting your loved ones' futures and distributing your estate according to your wishes. However, storing your will is important as well. It is not enough to place a will in a drawer or other location that could be compromised by weather conditions (fire, tornado, etc.) or where children or others could access it. There are probate services and will storage companies available to take care of storing a will; a will writing service can also store your will securely. Those who choose to store their own wills should choose a highly secure location such as a home safe or bank. Some people choose to entrust the storage of their wills to the executor of the estate.

Consider Johnson Law Group for Your Estate Planning Needs

A will is a highly important document when it comes to estate planning. Without a will, loved ones and family members may be left to go through what is often an arduous process – probate. Probate brings everything out in the public, and often leaves loved ones fighting over property, money, and other assets. Those who are interested in learning more about how to create a will in Colorado may reach out to Johnson Law Group for legal support at (720) 463-4333 or text (720)-730-4558.

Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
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