Wills in Colorado | Boulder Estate Planning Attorney
As a Boulder estate planning attorney James Newell routinely helps clients with wills. To this day, wills are still one of the most reliable and effective tools in any estate planning lawyer’s toolbox. Wills are written statements of intentions, executed in a formal way in the presence of witnesses and/or a notary public so as to assure their reliability, that only take effect upon the deaths of the people for whom they were created. Wills are certainly one area of the law in which the legal formalities required for execution serve a very important and practical purpose. Because the wishes of a deceased person who creates a will cannot be made more clear through his or her testimony, without formalities to assure the reliability of the will, the decedent’s wishes could easily be thwarted by misunderstandings, contradictory evidence and intentional misrepresentations by interested parties.
While important, wills are by no means the end of the discussion when it comes to estate planning. Because the primary purpose of a will is to dispose of property 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 themself and competently go about their day-to-day activities.
Wills and amendments to wills (codicils) 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 legislature 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, the deceased person’s 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 a Boulder Estate Planning Attorney with a results oriented approach tailored to your matter’s specific needs, contact Newell Law. We have the experience and knowledge to ensure your will is drafted with precision and in accordance with your wishes.