Understanding the Validity of a Will

Ensuring that a loved-one’s wishes can be honored by a Will involves ensuring that the Will meets certain requirements and stands the best chance of being affirmed as a valid Will by the Probate Court. Knowing which type of Will to use is the best starting place.

Holographic Will: A handwritten will. While this type of Will can be valid in Colorado if certain conditions are met, it can also present a lot of issues upon filing with the Probate Court. The main issue being whether the Will should be authenticated as a valid Will, and the wishes honored. If it is not found to be valid, then the Court applies Statutory Intestate laws as if no will was written.

Verbal Wills / Noncupative Wills: This is essentially a verbal will that is spoken aloud from the creator to witnesses, and written down immediately by the witnesses. Although verbal wills are recognized by some states in limited circumstances, they are not recognized as a valid Will in Colorado.

Formal Will: This type of Will is typewritten, signed, and observed by witnesses. This format is the most likely to succeed authentication by the Court during the probate process. Each state is governed by its own probate laws, however, in Colorado a valid will should be signed by a person of sound mind, and witnessed by two witnesses over the age of 18 years old.  

Pour Over Will: This is similar to a Formal Will, yet it designed to work in conjunction with an Estate Trust, and “pours over” any remaining assets that have not already been transferred to the Trust. Drafters should be aware that the Pour Over Will must go through the probate Court process just as does a Formal Will.

This is a very brief summary of various types of Wills, when the reality is that each person’s situation is unique, and consulting a law firm is strongly recommended to ensure that your loved one’s wishes are properly documented, and carried out. Please reach out to Behrends Legal with questions regarding Estate Planning needs. (970) 578-9455.

Differences Between Wills and Revocable Trusts

Although many legal documents can be used to distribute personal and real property assets when the time comes, some of the most common choices are to prepare a will, or a revocable trust. Moving forward in these matters can be emotionally challenging, but you have worked hard to build your estate over the course of your life, and creating an estate directive for your loved ones is one of the most loving things you can do. Your estate plan outlines your goals and wishes so your loved ones don’t have to guess, or go through probate court, or await the court directive.

What is the Difference Between a Will and a Revocable Trust?

            Wills are essentially a listing of personal assets with a directive regarding how the assets should be distributed, and is only effective at the time of death. This may seem similar to a trust initially, however, the Will must be filed with the local probate court, the beneficiaries of the will must pay the court fees to process the Will, and are subject to the timing of the court procedures. Further, the contents of the Will become part of the public record which is undesirable for many grantors who wish to maintain privacy.

            A Revocable Trust is created immediately, and can be added to, or changed during the life of the Grantor (the creator of the Trust). Some grantors prefer to use Trusts in order to provide directives for real property. Revocable Trusts are often preferred by grantors in order to retain privacy of their personal assets as the trust does not need to be processed by probate court. Trusts are administrated by a person of the Grantor’s choosing and designation. Sometimes an attorney will advise the drafting of a Will as part of the Revocable Trust. A Revocable Trust can also help the Grantor create a plan for future medical care if desired, as well.

There are many other benefits to preparing legal asset documents, and having a legal, documented estate plan is the best plan. It is important to create an estate plan that is personal to your situation and goals, with an attorney.

Reach out to Behrends Legal today to discuss your estate planning goals!

P: 970-578-9455

E: info@behrendslegal.com