To gain sole discretion and control over the distribution of your hard-earned assets, create a last will and testament. This document will grant your wish to give all your estate to your child, spouse, spouse, and kids, or an organization that is close to your heart.
While the investment in your life insurance policy has a listed beneficiary, your land, stakes in that billion-dollar company, or the money in your bank accounts may only have your name. And, failure to name a beneficiary of these assets will only leave you at the mercy of the state. The law doesn't recognize any unwritten wishes as part of your will. Therefore, regardless of your reservation, creating a free last will and testament in Colorado is the single most important things you could do.
Using a will, you get to name the person or persons who inherit your possessions or that one heir who takes over your entire estate. But, asset distribution is not all you can do with a will: if you want to appoint someone as the legal guardian of your minor children (after you inform them and they accept the responsibility), you will need to indicate that in the will. You could also use the will to appoint someone as the caregiver of your pets after your death.
What's more: free Colorado last will and testament could be used to create and name trusts created for your children or even your pet (a pet trust). When creating a trust for an animal, it should include the offspring of that animal, the ones born when the testator is still alive. The pet trust should also mention that the cover provided to the animal is invalid after 21 years.
If you are using the will as a document to name the person responsible for the guardianship of your property, also called an executor, you must confirm their willingness to take on that role, even if they are to do something as trivial or as demanding as taking care of a pet.
The Due Process
However, you don't get to do all this, just like that. The terms you create must be acceptable in court. The probate court must prove what the will states. In case you are wondering, the probate court references the court-supervised process involved in the distribution of the property of the deceased.
It is only after the probate court acclaims the will that the named executor can act on the will and pay off any taxes or debts owed by the estate of the deceased that the property distribution takes place.
For its validity, the will created should be filed in court within 10 days of the death of the testator even when an executor does not expect any probate administration to handle asset distribution.
What happens when the will involves a small estate?
In the state of Colorado, asset distribution for small estates, the one valued under $50,000 and the ones without real property bypasses the probate court. Instead, an executor has to file an affidavit for the Collection of Personal Property in the probate court.
Unlike other states, Colorado has an informal and a formal probate process. With the probate processes, any uncontested estates will go through the informal probate. The contested, questionable, and the invalid probates, on the other hand, go through the formal probate process.
Looking at all the power held by a will and some of the complicated legal processes an executor may have to go through, don't you think that it is only fair to ensure that your will captures all the standard details (15-11-501, et seq.) of the last will and testament form? Well, here are the requirements of a valid last will:
It should be prepared by an adult aged 18 or over who is of sound mind. That is, the testator should make reasonable judgments.
It must have the signature of the testator, as well as the signature of the individual signing the will on behalf of and as per the directives of the testator.
A minimum of 2 witnesses should sign the will, and both witnesses should certify witnessing the signing of the last will by the testator
This form is only valid if it is in writing. Oral wills are not valid or even recognized legally. Note, however, that a holographic will (wholly handwritten) is acceptable legally if there's credible evidence to prove that the handwriting of the person writing down the will, and the signature belong to the testator.
What is the fate of your property if you fail to create a last will?
Without a will, the deceased person and their estate are regarded as intestate, and asset distribution lies with the state's intestacy laws. The intestate laws may or may not represent any of your wishes.
Under the intestacy laws, if the decedent (deceased without a will) has a surviving spouse but no children or if they have a spouse and descendants related to the spouse only, the named spouse gets the entire estate. However, for decedents survived by children (no spouse), the inheritance goes to the children.
But, a surviving spouse shares the inheritance if the decedent leaves surviving parents or other descendants not related to the spouse.
Sounds tricky, doesn't it?
Get our last will and testament form online and get started on your estate protection process.