Wills in Colorado
Creating and Managing a Will
Our estate planning attorneys are readily available to draft a will that will help ensure that your last wishes are honored in distributing your assets. In the United States, the will process is relatively similar throughout the nation; however, there are significant variations between the states when it comes to laws governing wills. Because of this, you should consider updating your will if you’ve recently moved to Colorado or you’ve had a major life change, such as a new addition to the family, divorce, or death of a devisee. It is recommended that if you are interested in creating a will, you hire an estate planning attorney like the expert lawyers at Baker Law Group.
Understanding various types of wills:
- Standard wills – A standard and traditional will only becomes active upon the death of the testator. A standard will bequeaths possessions and assets of the estate pursuant to the decedent’s wishes and requests in his or her will.
- Living will – A Living will, also known as an advance health care directive, physician’s directive, or advance directive, applies when the testator, the person to whom the will belongs, becomes incapacitated or legally unable to make health care decisions for themselves. The living will allows the testator to make known his or her wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatments. This legal document should not be confused with a living trust, which is used for holding and distributing a person’s assets during life and transferring them to designated beneficiaries after death. A living will informs your health care providers and your family of your desires for medical treatment in the event you are unable to express your own wishes at that time.
Other types of wills include:
- Conditional – a will intended to take effect by away of some occurrence
- Holographic – a will entirely handwritten and signed by the person creating the will and requires no witnesses
- Joint – a will two people create together, disposing the assets of their respective estates
- Reciprocal – a will is often used by married couples to ensure the transfer of property and assets to one another
- Codicil – a supplement to an existing will
Once the personal representative has been appointed, he/she has all of the powers granted under the Fiduciaries’ Powers Act, as well as those powers granted in the will, unless specifically limited in writing.
Undue influence is when a person with some level of control over the will-maker uses that control to alter the will, disrupting the will-maker’s natural impulses to provide for family members and instead convincing the will-maker to leave assets to them. Individuals who are physically or mentally frail or those who are particularly dependent on others are most susceptible to undue influence.
Lack of Capacity
Contracts entered into by a party who lacks mental capacity can usually be declared void. The same is true for wills. Colorado’s Probate Code defines an “incapacitated person” as one who is unable to effectively receive or evaluate information…or communicate decisions to such an extent that the individual lacks the ability to satisfy essential requirements for physical health, safety, or self-care, even with appropriate and reasonably available technological assistance.”
Fraud in will disputes occurs when a beneficiary makes a specific false statement to the will-maker, and that false statement causes the will-maker to dispose his property differently due to the misrepresentation. Depending on how extensive a court finds the fraud to be, the court will either invalidate the portions of the will resulting from fraud or simply invalidate the will in its entirety.
It is not expensive for our attorneys to help you draft a will- please let us help. We frequently represent executors who are faced with the difficult and often costly challenge of tying to probate wills that have significant errors and omissions. Those seeking to create a will at an affordable price are often penny-wise yet dollar foolish, seeking to reduce cost by creating wills with little to no guidance. These wills are often highly contested or declared invalid.
A will deposit is a method a person can use to place an original will on deposit with the Probate Court for safekeeping. This is an alternative to using a safe deposit box.
This method guarantees the will is kept safe, is not lost or destroyed, and will be kept out of the view of the public.