Last Will and Testament
Grand Junction Estate Planning Attorney
A Will is the traditional and most commonly used means to transfer a person's assets to his family after his death. A holographic Will - a Will written in your own hand writing - does not need to be witnessed. However, a Will that is typed or prepared on a computer should be witnessed by two persons and notarized. Otherwise, the court will not recognize the Will without a hearing to "admit the Will to Probate." While some people attempt to write their own Will, it is wise to consult an Estate Planning lawyer so that all bases are covered and there is no ambiguity (or hidden consequences) in the document.
The advantages of having a Will are threefold: (1) they are relatively inexpensive; (2) they specify how the estate is to be divided and distributed; and (3) they appoint a friend or family member to oversee the handling of the estate. On the negative side, a Will - unlike a Living Revocable Trust - is subject to Probate. And while Probate in Colorado is relatively simple compared to Probate in many states, it typically costs 2-5% of the value of your estate and takes approximately one year before the estate is closed. Thus, you will need to analyze whether a Living Revocable Trust may be less expensive in the long run since a Trust is not subject to Probate.
Points to Consider in Making a Will
Estate planning rules and laws are very specific and frequently change. While most any lawyer can draft a simple Will, only attorneys with extensive estate planning experience have the knowledge that's required to avoid the many pitfalls created by ever-changing federal and state laws. In short, what your family lawyer doesn't know about estate planning can hurt you.
- The Will should be as simple as possible, clear and precise. There should be no question as to who gets what personal or real property. Vagueness or ambiguity leads to legal battles and fractured family relationships that can last for years.
- Designate a Personal Representative (and an alternate) to handle the estate and spell out the fee (if any) that he or she is to receive.
- Name a Guardian for minor children, appoint a Trustee to handle the funds that are left to the minor children, and specify at what age the minor children are to receive the balance of their inheritance.
Estate Planning Lawyer in Grand Junction
Since 1993, the Law Offices of James A. Littlepage , a Grand Junction Estate Planning firm, has been drafting clear and concise Wills that will facilitate the handling of his client's estates. Mr. Littlepage has prepared over 2,000 estate plans and recently was recognized with a 2015 and 2016 Five Star Estate Planning Attorney℠ award. In 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 he received the Five Star Wealth Manager℠ award, as seen in 5280 and ColoradoBiz magazines. For assistance in drafting your Will, please contact our Grand Junction office.