A lot of people don’t think they need a will, thinking it’s only needed if you are close to passing away or if you are extremely wealthy. However, creating a will is an important and responsible thing to do, no matter your financial circumstance or health.
Distribute Your Assets How You Want Instead Of The Government Deciding For You
Think about it: you’ve worked your entire life to raise money and acquire assets for the support and enjoyment of yourself and the ones you love. If you pass away without a will, all of the wealth you accrued over your life shall be distributed according to a default statutory scheme called “intestate succession.” Intestate succession is like a “default will” the government assigns to you if you don’t create your own will. In Colorado, It will pass your estate to your closest living family family, beginning with your children and spouse, and if they cannot take then it will keep looking for more distant relatives to give your wealth to, such as parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents etc.
While intestate succession may reflect the wishes of some, it may do the exact opposite of what you actually want. You might want a child to receive nothing from your estate because they are an estranged family member, or perhaps you want to support them but don’t trust that family member to receive all your wealth with no strings attached.
You have a fundamental right to control how your wealth is to be distributed when you pass away, and a will provides a foundation through which you can establish that control. If you don’t, the government will assume what you wanted through intestate succession.
Putting Someone You Trust In Charge Of Your Estate
Aside from distributing your estate to people or entities you care about, another important benefit a will provides is choosing who should be responsible for wrapping up your estate. This person who is assigned to manage your estate when you pass in Colorado is usually called a personal representative, but they sometimes go by other names such as an executor or executrix. By creating a will, you can choose someone you trust to be the personal representative, whether that is your spouse, another close friend or family member, or even a professional service to perform that role.
However, if you pass away without a will, a probate court will have to decide who should fill this role. Maybe they will make the right decision, but no one knows better than you who should be responsible for settling your estate.
Protecting Your Children
If you have any minor children, you should strongly consider making a will to protect your kids. Not only can you make sure they are provided for by your estate, but you can also assign a guardian for your children in case you pass away.
Similar to how intestate succession is described above, a court might have to decide who should look after your children if you pass away without stating your wishes in a will. Even if you have no care in the world for how your estate should be distributed, making sure your children are protected is enough reason in and of itself to create a will.
Avoid Family Conflict And Bring Peace Of Mind
If you have experienced the grief of a close loved one passing away, you know it is hard for you and everyone else who was close to that loved one. Creating a will helps prevent even more tension from forming, as it makes your last wishes clear and avoid any conflict which may arise between family members. Depending on family dynamics, a loved one passing away may create conflict between beneficiaries of the estate if there are no clear instructions laid out in a will. Tense family dynamics combined with a wealthy family member passing away can be a recipe for disaster during a time that is already sensitive; a well-drafted will can alleviate these tensions by making a set of instructions known that are legally enforceable by a court.
Who Can Create A Will?
Generally speaking, in Colorado as long as you are 18 years or older, you can make a will. One important caveat is that at the time you sign and execute your will, you need to be of sound mind and be able to understand that you are creating a will and what it does. This often isn’t a problem, but it can be if the person trying to create a will is suffering from mental or health deterioration such as Alzheimer’s or dementia symptoms at the time they try to sign.
Talk To One Of Our Estate Planning Lawyers Today
Anzen Legal Group creates comprehensive estate plans, including wills, for our clients. If you would like to schedule a consultation to decide what kind of estate plan is right for you, call our office at 970-893-8857 or schedule an appointment.