How to Write Your Own Will in Colorado

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You can make a will under Colorado law by typing it, handwriting it or using a preprinted form from a reputable online resource or office supply store. You must be at least 18 years old and mentally competent to make a valid will. If you die intestate, or without a will, a judge divides your assets pursuant to state statutes rather than according to your wishes.

Make Your Intentions Clear

Your will must clearly identify your beneficiaries and the property you are leaving them. If your directions are ambiguous, your will might not be enforceable. For example, if you state, "I want either my niece, my brother, or my aunt to take my motorcycle," your intentions aren’t clearly stated so a judge might deem the bequest invalid. If you state, "I leave my motorcycle to my brother, Robert Smith," your intentions are clear.

Signature Requirements

A Colorado will must be dated and signed by its maker whether it's handwritten, typed or preprinted. It must also be witnessed by two uninterested parties or notarized by a notary public who is authorized to take acknowledgments.

Executors and Guardians

Wills usually name an executor, or someone who is in charge of gathering your property, paying your estate's bills and distributing your assets to your heirs according to the terms of your will. Parents can also name guardians to physically care for their minor children and manage the children's money. The court will appoint an executor and guardian if you do not name specific individuals in your will to fill these roles.

Changes and Revocation

Life changes, such as marriage, divorce and having children, are common reasons to modify or revoke wills. Generally, you can fully revoke or change your will as long as you are mentally competent. You can fully revoke your will by destroying it or making a new one, or you can modify your will by drafting a codicil. A codicil is an independent document subject to the same requirements as an original will – you must sign it, and if it is typed or preprinted, it must be witnessed and dated. Revoking your old will and making an entirely new one can be more practical than writing a codicil if you want to make extensive changes.

References

About the Author

Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.

Photo Credits

  • Karen Roach/Hemera/Getty Images