Your will is the foundation of your estate plan.
Wills offer benefits such as:
- A will lets you make provisions for your spouse, descendants, and other family members.
- A will helps you provide for non-family beneficiaries and charities who otherwise would receive nothing from your estate through default Colorado laws.
- A will allows you to choose the personal representative of your estate.
- A will gives parents of minors the opportunity to choose a guardian, should the need arise.
Limitations of a Will
It is just as important to realize what a will cannot do. The distribution of some assets is determined by law. For example, property owned jointly with the right of survivorship passes automatically to the surviving joint owner, not according to your will.
Any provisions regarding the distribution of such property in your will are ineffectual if the joint owner survives. Similarly, a surviving spouse has certain rights under Colorado state law that can't be trumped by the will, unless the couple has an agreement to waive those statutory rights provided to a surviving spouse that would otherwise normally apply in such a situation.
Make sure your family is taken care of. Contact our office today.
Writing a will is not necessarily a complex task for smaller estates, and many people choose to write their own wills without significant negative effects.
However, for those with significant assets and/or family issues which may lead to a will being contested, writing a will with the advice of an attorney can help avoid issues upon your passing.
While an attorney can be of significant assistance in helping you draft a will, you will need to determine certain important things, such as:
- Who your executor will be
- What assets you wish to leave to whom
- Who will serve as guardian for your minor children
- Who will take care of your pets
- How your business is to be dealt with
Your will must be signed and witnessed by two people in order to be valid.
The distribution of your estate according to your will is generally done through a legal process known as probate. Probate may not always be avoided, but a skilled attorney can help you set up your estate so that a majority of your assets are transferred automatically when you pass away, through a variety of wealth preservation tools.
Additional Considerations for Estate Planning
Depending on your life circumstances, different estate planning tools aside from a will may be advisable. For instance, if you have a family, you may want to make sure that the coverage your life insurance provides is enough to take care of them.
Or, if you own a business or have co-owners, you need to make sure that the transfer of your share is done with a business succession plan or other type of agreement.
For help from our wills lawyers, contact us online or call (303) 500-8633 today.