In Colorado, if you die without leaving a will, the state will distribute your property per intestacy laws. This can put your loved ones at a disadvantage. But if you have no relatives by blood or marriage, the state can take possession of your property.
A will protects your estate and allows you to distribute it according to your wishes. So it’s important to prepare one now. But how do you do it?
Where to Start
You can start with an estate planning lawyer in Denver. An attorney can help you resolve complex family issues and financial situations in your will. For example, your estate lawyer will need to know about debts.
Aside from your lawyer, you can also pick a personal representative to handle the estate. Be sure to consult that person and get his consent first. You may need several alternates if the primary person could not assume the duties.
You can still make a will on your own without a lawyer. This is known as a holographic will, which you must accomplish in your handwriting. Such document is valid even without witnesses. A holographic will, however, can raise disputes among your beneficiaries who may question its validity.
- List all your personal information including your name, spouse, and children along with their addresses and birthdays.
- You also have to name the people who will get properties and assets.
- List all the real estate property that you wish to give. Take note that you can only give away properties under your name. You could also set up a trust and transfer some or all of your real estate to that account. A lawyer can help you with regards to this matter.
- List all your personal properties. If you own some valuable or unique items, it’s better to talk to your family about them ahead of time. Sometimes, disputes can arise over these personal properties. Naming the specific person who will get each item will help avoid confusion and arguments.
- Don’t forget to include your financial accounts including your insurance policies, if any.
- If your spouse has passed away or is not around, you can appoint a guardian for your minor children. It’s important that such a person has given his or her consent for that role. You also need to have an alternate or two just in case the first one can’t do it or does not consent to it. The guardian could even manage the finances of your children.
Your will ensures that your final wishes are carried out, from the distribution of assets to care for your children. You can make one on your own, but a lawyer can ensure that it is legally binding.