A will is the most common form of estate planning. Essentially, it contains a set of instructions, directing your personal representative to distribute and settle your estate when you pass away. A will can also be used to name a guardian for your minor children, or disabled adult children. It is important to note, you do not avoid probate in Colorado by drafting a will. Assets you can devise in your will include personal property, real property, bank accounts, vehicles, etc.
Who Can Make a Will?
Anyone 18 years and older, and of sound mind, can create a will. In order to have a “self-proving” will, and speed up the process of probate, you need to make sure your will is in writing, signed by you, signed by two, impartial witnesses, and notarized.
Can I Disinherit Certain People?
It is for you to determine who you want to inherit your assets and property. However, according to Colorado law, your surviving spouse and children born after the will was executed and not provided for, may be entitled to a portion of your estate, despite not including him, her, or them in your will. You may want to consult with an attorney before attempting to disinherit anyone in a will.
Should I Update My Will?
You may want to update your estate planning several times throughout your life. It is important that your will be kept up-to-date with your major life changes. Have you recently had a child? You may want to update your will to provide for your young children, including naming a guardian in case you passed away before they became adults. Have you recently divorced? You will want to update your will to ensure your estate goes to your children, other family members, or even a charity.
Creating a Will Does Not Avoid Probate
There is sometimes a misconception that if you draft a will, your devisees can avoid probate in Colorado. This is untrue; a will merely instructs your personal representative how to distribute your property and this often achieved through a probate case. However, in Colorado, the process of probate is not as daunting as it is in other states. If your estate is fairly simple, as are your beneficiaries, it may make financial sense to use a simple will as an estate planning tool. If you have questions as to whether drafting a will is the right method for you, please contact the Hulse Law Firm to set up a free consultation at 720-480-2247.