Frequently Asked Legal Questions
- Do I need a Will? If you do not have a Will, the laws of the State of Colorado determine who is entitled to your assets and they determine who has priority to be your personal representative (executor).
- How long is my Will good for? Wills do not expire. Unless you change or revoke a Will it remains in effect until you die. Therefore, if your wishes change you must update your Will.
- Can I write my own Will? Pursuant to Colorado Law, you may write your own Will. It will be valid if it is signed by you and if all the material provisions of the document are in your handwriting. There may be many problems with writing your own Will, because it may not be clear and it may not include all of the provisions that a Will should contain.
- Do I need to go through probate? In Colorado, if you own any interest in real estate (a home), or if you own other assets which are valued at more than $80,000 your estate must be probated, whether you have a Will or not.
- What is probate? Probate is a court process whereby the court appoints a personal representative to administer your estate. Probate is a process that includes filing an inventory of the estate assets, publishing a notice to creditors in a newspaper, accounting for estate income and expenses and disbursing the estate.
- What documents are included in a good estate plan? A person should have a Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Living Trust, a health care power of attorney, a general durable power of attorney and a living will.
- I am the agent under a power of attorney, isn’t that all I need to take care of things? A power of attorney will no longer be valid after the death of the principal. In addition, it may not be valid once the principal becomes incapacitated unless it has the right language. You must examine your power of attorney to see what powers it includes and under what conditions the agent may act.
- What is a trust? There are many types of trust. A trust is generally a document which establishes an arrangement whereby property is transferred to a trust with the intention that it be administered by a trustee for someone’s benefit. A trust may be established for your own benefit. The biggest advantage for setting up a trust for your own benefit is to avoid probate.
This article was written by Tamra K Waltemath of Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C. This information is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions, you should consult a qualified attorney. Tamra K. Waltemath is an elder law attorney focusing on wills, trusts, estate and trust administration, probate and non-probate transfers, guardianships and conservatorships. She can be contacted at: Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C., 3843 West 73rd Avenue, Westminster, CO 80030; 303-657-0360; or visit her website at: www.WaltemathLawOffice.com.