What is a will?
A will is the legal instrument in which you specify the method to be applied in the management and distribution of your estate (the stuff you own) after death.
In Common Law, an instrument disposing of Personal Property was called a “testament,” whereas a will disposed of real estate. Over time the distinction has disappeared so that a will, sometimes called a “last will and testament,” disposes of both real and personal property.
If you do not leave a will, or the will is declared invalid, you will have died intestate, resulting in the distribution of the estate according Colorado law. Because of the importance of a will, the law requires it to have certain elements to be valid. Apart from these elements, a will may be ruled invalid if the will was made as the result of undue influence, fraud, or mistake.
A will serves a variety of important purposes. It enables you to select your heirs rather than allowing the state law to choose the heirs, who, although blood relatives, might be people you dislike or don’t even know. A will allows you to decide which individual could best serve as the executor of the estate, distributing the property fairly to the beneficiaries while protecting their interests, rather than allowing a court to appoint a stranger to serve as administrator. Most importantly, a will safeguards your right to select an individual to serve as guardian to raise your minor children.