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What is a Last Will and Testament

 

A Colorado Last Will and Testament, when prepared and executed properly by a person who is an adult of sound mind with legal responsibility for his- or herself, is a formal document that specifies how their assets or estate will be managed and distributed after their death. The person who dies is formally referred to as the decedent. If the decedent has minor children, the Last Will and Testament may also be used to designate who they want to care for their children and who they wish to handle their childrenís inheritance/finances until each child comes of age (usually 18, but you can designate a different age) to handle their finances on their own.

In a Last Will and Testament, the decedent usually also names a personal representativeóor co-personal representatives (two or more persons acting together in this capacity)óto manage the matters of the estate. The personal representative is the person who gathers all of the information about the decedentís debts and assets, pays outstanding debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and ensures that the decedentís property is distributed as specified in the Will, so this is a job with a lot of responsibility, and the personal representative selected is usually someone the decedent really trusts to follow through on the details and with his or her wishes.

If a person dies without having a valid Last Will and Testament (which usuallyóin most statesómeans it must be properly witnessed, as wellónot just signed), someone will usually be appointed by the court to be the personal representative and will pay the decedentís debts, liquidizing assets as necessary to do so. Then the remaining assets will be distributed among the decedentís heirs according to the laws of the state the decedent lived in.

In some states, if one spouse dies leaving behind a husband or wife, that living spouse will inherit all of the decedentís property in the absence of a Last Will and Testament stating to the contrary. In other cases, the decedent may have specified a particular beneficiary to inherit a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and that beneficiary designation will dictate who receives those assets in the absence of a Colorado Last Will and Testament.

The important thing to note is that anyone who wishes to designate how their assets will be distributed after their death should prepare and properly execute a Last Will and Testament to ensure their wishes are known and honored. If they donít, they may be leaving it up to chance, the laws of the state in which they reside at the time of their death, or a court of law as to how their final affairs will be settled.  Colorado free information on last will and testament forms.

Legal Requirements for Last Wills in Colorado

If a person wants to establish their rules for the inheritance of property and rights after their death, they need to use a Last Will. In Colorado, using this form, a testator can appoint a certain person(s) to fulfill their will, divide movable and immovable property between them, and appoint a guardian for minor children. The local law also allows citizens to assign responsibility for a pet, if necessary (the period of care is up to 21 years).

Why you Need a Last Will in Colorado

The laws of Colorado strictly define the rules of inheritance of a personís property after their death. The rights to the deceasedís property pass to the spouse, and if the spouse is not alive, the descendants get it. Meanwhile, the spouse must divide the property between the parents and the descendants of the deceased. The law may not coincide with the wishes of a person who wants to dispose of his property differently after death. That is what a Last Will is for.

Colorado Law Requirements for Filing a Last Will

In Colorado, the testatorís relatives or appointees must file a testament within ten days of the testatorís death. Then the court considers the will and makes a verdict on the distribution of the deceasedís property. Uncontested property passes through an informal will. In cases where the property is contested or executed under a controversial will, it goes through a formal procedure.

If the total value of the property does not exceed $ 50,000 and also does not contain real estate, the inheritors do not have to use a Last Will to assign rights to this property. In this case, an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property can be used. One way or another, a court decision is necessary for the distribution of rights. After the person(s) appointed by the testator receives a court verdict, they can dispose of the property and pay the debts, if any.

Restriction on the Action of a Last Will

Even a Last Will dealing with contested property cannot completely override state laws. This is because the inheritance law intersects with other laws, such as IRA accruals, co-acquired property, and the general inheritance act.

In Colorado, the following restrictions apply to testaments:

  • The spouse of the deceased will receive the jointly acquired property if it has the status of the right of survivorship

  • $ 26,000 goes to the spouse of the deceased; if they are not alive, the descendants distribute this amount among themselves

  • Retirement income passes to the beneficiaries regardless of how this point is defined in the testament.

Changing and Revoking a Testament in Colorado

If a person wants to change their Last Will, they write an amendment to the original document, which specifies other terms for inheritance of property. To completely cancel the current will, there are two ways. First, a testator can create another document of the same type, which contains different conditions and cancels the previous one by its presence. Second, they can destroy the document themselves or ask another person to do it. Under the Colorado laws, both ways eliminate the current terms of property inheritance.

 

 

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