The Law of Wills in Boulder | Boulder Wills Attorney
Wills are one of the most reliable and effective tools in any estate planning lawyer’s toolbox. They are perhaps the most well known estate planning device. Wills are written statements, executed in a formal way in the presence of witnesses so as to assure their reliability, that only take effect upon the death of the person for whom the will was created. Wills are certainly one area of the law in which the legal formalities serve a very important and practical purpose. Because the wishes of the deceased person who created the will (called the “testator” and upon death the “decedent”) cannot be made more clear through his or her testimony, without formalities to assure the reliability of the document in which the the decedent states his or her wishes the decedent’s wishes could easily be thwarted by misunderstandings, contradictory evidence and intentional misrepresentations by interested parties.
Although important, wills are by no means the end of the discussion when it comes to estate planning. Because a will only disposes of property (and, if minor children are involved, nominates a guardian) upon the death of the decedent and the acceptance of the will by the district or probate court in which the decedent resided, the will has no effect while that person is still living. Often the hardest choices for families do not arise after their loved one has died but while that person is still alive, but struggling to make decisions for him or herself and competently go about his or her day-to-day activities.
Wills and codicils (amendments to wills) must be drafted carefully, and to be effective they must be executed according to specific statutory rules. If changes are made to a will after it was originally executed and those changes were not executed in accordance with the statutory requirements, the will or the amendments to the will could be deemed void by the probate court.
If a will was not properly executed or if a will does not properly dispose of all of a decedent’s property, the laws of intestacy may come into play. The laws of intestacy are the laws that govern how property is disposed of when that property is not transferred by operation of law, through a contractual arrangement, through a will, or through a trust. The Colorado General Assembly has done its best to come up with default rules that it believes most people would want in place in the event a decedent’s wishes could not be determined following their death. But in almost no circumstance will any given person’s wishes fully align with the laws of intestacy, meaning that if no estate plan is in place for someone, his or her unexpressed wishes will likely be thwarted upon his or her death. It follows that under almost no circumstances should anyone rely on the laws of intestacy to effectuate their wishes.
If you are looking for an Estate Planning Attorney in Boulder with a results oriented approach tailored to your matter’s specific needs, contact Newell Law. We have the experience and knowledge to achieve the best results possible for your case.