Frequently Asked Questions about


Who can create a will in Colorado?

Any person at least 18 years or older with a sound mind can create a will. A sound mind includes the knowledge of what assets you have, who your immediate family members are, and whom you want your assets to be given.

What happens if I die without a will in Colorado?

If you die without a will, you are considered to be “intestate”. When this happens, Colorado law essentially writes your will for you, dictating decisions like who is entitled to what and who has priority to be the personal representative.

Administering an estate for someone who died without a will can be complicated and may require significant court involvement. A court proceeding for someone who died without a will can be generally more expensive than filing a probate action with a will.

Can't I just write a will myself?

A will can be handwritten or typed, and must be signed and dated by the person writing the will. Ideally, a will is also witnessed by two people without interest in the will and notarized.

While you can create a will on your own, it’s highly recommended you work with an attorney to write your will. A well drafted will requires special skills. Although Colorado will recognize wills created without the assistance of an attorney, those wills are often found to be ambiguous or defective, which causes delay, more expense, and possibly litigation.

Will my will automatically distribute of all my assets?

Only assets that are individually owned by you and that do not have a beneficiary designation are distributed by a will. Other types of assets you may own are not distributed by your will but rather by operation of law. Therefore it is important to consider how you own your assets when doing your estate planning.

Can I disinherit my spouse or children?

In your will, you may give your assets to whomever you wish. However, Colorado provides protections for surviving spouses who are left out or disinherited in a will and for children who were born after the will was executed, where no provisions were made for them.

Regardless of what your will says, your surviving spouse may elect to receive a percentage of your estate, unless you and your spouse have a valid prenuptial agreement that says otherwise.

Similarly, unless expressly excluded, your children born after your will is executed may inherit the share they would be entitled to if you died without a will.

Can I change my will?

A will may be amended or revoked at any time, as long as you are of sound mind and not being inappropriately influenced by another person.

You should never write directly on your original will, but instead should execute a codicil or an entirely new will. Writing in new clauses or scratching out sections in your will creates uncertainty and will likely result in increased court involvement and possible litigation.

When should I update my will?

Once you create a will, you will likely have changes occur in your life, the life of the people you left assets to in the will, and state and federal tax laws. These changes can affect your will directly, even though you make no changes to the will itself. Therefore, you should keep in contact with an attorney and have your will reviewed periodically.

What happens to my will if I get divorced or married?

In Colorado, if you get divorced after you execute your will, your ex-spouse cannot serve as your personal representative and is automatically eliminated as a devisee when the divorce is final.

If you get married after you execute your will, your spouse is entitled to the same share he or she would receive if you died without a will.

I created a will in another state. Will Colorado follow it?

If you moved to Colorado, it is prudent to have your will reviewed by an attorney. While Colorado law recognizes wills from other states that were properly executed in that state, there are other factors that could affect your will, including community property issues, differing rules about the disposition of personal property, and local rules regarding spousal and dependents’ rights.

This website includes information about legal issues. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on your specific legal problems.

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