The Colorado Simple Will
In Colorado, wills, like people, come in all shapes and sizes. For many people, namely couples with no children or adult children, a “simple will” is going to be sufficient to address their needs and concerns. A Colorado simple will is typically going to have at least the following four components:
1) Family Information: Your simple will needs to describe your family. For example, “I am married to ________________. For purposes of this will, all references to my spouse shall be to that person. I have three children, __________, ___________, and ___________. For purposes of this will, all references to my descendants will be to those children and their descendants.” The family information is important as it provides clarity for the rest of your will. For example, perhaps you were a bit of a playboy back in your twenties and it would not be completely out of the realm of possibility that you may have a love child (or two…or three…) out there somewhere that you are not aware of. If that unknown child suddenly shows up after you are dead claiming to be entitled to some inheritance, this section of the will can help demonstrate that you intended to include only the children who you were aware existed.
2) Distributions: This is the portion of the will that everybody thinks of when they think of a will. “I leave all of my worldly possessions to my spouse, if he survives me. If he does not, then to my descendants by representation.” That, in a nutshell, is the meat and potatoes of the simple will. If you are going to leave money or other property to a variety of people, then you would specify all of that here. But typically the term “simple will” refers to a will that leaves all of your property outright to one person.
3) Personal Representative: Your simple will is also the place to designate your personal representative. A personal representative is the person who will administer your will after you are gone and will see that all of the distributions are made accordingly. The personal representative will also take care of paying off any debts and expenses of your estate, and will deal with the courts and/or attorneys during the probate process. It is generally best to designate one primary personal representative, and one or two successor personal representatives in case the primary one predeceases you or is unable or unwilling to be the personal representative. If you do not name a personal representative in your will, the court will have to appoint one to your estate. This may not be the end of the world, but if you have one of those families that likes to fight with each other and disagrees over everything, this could end up being a time- and money-consuming process if your kids, for example, are all fighting over who should do it. Oh, and for the sake of clarity, the personal representative is also commonly referred to as the “executor,” “executrix,” or “administrator.” It’s all the same thing.
4) Signatures: Even the simplest Colorado simple will needs to be signed by the testator (that’s you, the person whose will it is) and two witnesses in order to be valid. Colorado does not require a will to be notarized to be valid, but does provide for a will to be “self-proving” if it is signed by two witnesses AND also notarized. A self-proving will can make the probate process a lot smoother because it provides an extra layer of support to show that the will is valid and that you, the testator, intended for it to be enforced. It also helps to avoid the need for the witnesses to testify in court if the will is contested.
If you would like, you can view a SAMPLE Colorado Simple Will. This is merely a sample that I am providing for your general knowledge and information because I am just such a nice person. (Of course, it also helps a lot with my SEO for my website…but let’s ignore that factor and pretend I am doing it purely out of generosity and with no regard to my own selfish needs!) Whatever the reason, this sample Colorado simple will should not be relied on or taken as legal advice, and I make no guarantees as to its validity or enforceability.
Denver, Colorado estate planning attorney Aiden H. Kramer offers a will package, which includes the will, living will, general durable power of attorney, and medical power of attorney for as little as $800. Call (720) 379-3425 or email [email protected] today to get started.