Drafting a will is an essential component of estate planning, ensuring that an individual’s assets are distributed according to their wishes upon their passing. However, even with the best intentions, errors in drafting can lead to unintended consequences and potential disputes among beneficiaries. In Colorado, specific legal requirements and nuances are associated with creating a will. Below, we discuss some of people’s most common mistakes during this process in the Centennial State.
- Not Meeting Statutory Requirements: Colorado law mandates that the testator (the person making the will) be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. The will must be in writing, signed by the testator, and witnessed by two individuals. Failure to meet these basic requirements can render the will invalid.
- Omitting a Residuary Clause: Often overlooked, a residuary clause disposes of assets not specifically mentioned in the will. Without this clause, those assets may be distributed according to Colorado’s intestacy laws rather than the testator’s wishes.
- Not Updating the Will: Life events like marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or acquisition of significant assets necessitate updating a will. Outdated wills might not reflect the testators current wishes or be up to date with Colorado’s evolving legal landscape.
- Vague or Ambiguous Language: Ambiguity in a will can lead to misinterpretation and disputes. It’s crucial to be specific about asset distribution, naming beneficiaries, and detailing the roles and responsibilities of the executor.
- Ignoring Potential Tax Implications: Without proper planning, significant estate taxes might reduce the inheritance for beneficiaries. Consulting a tax professional during the drafting process can help mitigate these concerns.
- Failing to Consider Digital Assets: In our increasingly digital age, overlooking online assets (like digital photographs, social media accounts, and cryptocurrencies) is a growing concern. Providing clear instructions regarding accessing and distributing these digital possessions is essential.
- Neglecting to Name Contingent Beneficiaries: If a primary beneficiary predeceases the testator or cannot inherit, a contingent beneficiary serves as an alternate. Without naming these alternates, assets might be distributed in ways not envisioned by the testator.
At Baker Law Group, our experienced Colorado Estate Planning Attorneys are equipped to guide you through the nuances of Colorado law, ensuring that you will stand up to scrutiny and genuinely reflect your wishes.
Whether you’re in the city’s heart or the surrounding areas, our Denver Estate Planning Lawyers are here to assist. Reach out today to set the foundation for a comprehensive Colorado Estate Planning strategy.