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Each state has its own statutes and requirements for wills. It pays to know your state’s requirements, or you can utilize the expertise of a Colorado estate attorney when drawing up your last will and testament. An illegitimate will could end up in probate court despite your best efforts.
If you have any questions, don’t go it alone. For instance, do you know how many signatures you need to witness your will, or does your will even need witnesses? Does it need to be in a specific format?
Anyone who is over the age of 18 — and is of sound mind — can make a will. You do not have to be wealthy or own property. If you have something you want to bequeath to an heir, you can have a will drawn up.
The will must include at least two signatures of individuals who witnessed the signing of the will by the testator, or the signature of an appointee of the testator who was in his or her presence when they signed. A notary is not necessary.
There are exceptions to the two witnesses, however. Holographic wills do not require witnesses or to be notarized. When a will is notarized, it does not need witness signatures unless it is a self-proved will.
A holographic will is a handwritten will. The entire will, even if portions are not in the testator’s handwriting, is considered legitimate.
A self-proved will includes a sworn statement by two witnesses stating that under penalty of perjury, they observed the testator signing the will and he or she stated that it was their will. The testator and witnesses’ signatures must be notarized.
While there is no specific format for a will, it is best to have it drawn up by an attorney who knows Colorado probate laws. The last thing you want after you are deceased is to have your will end up being litigated in court.
Source: Living Trust Network, “Colorado’s Requirements for a Will,” accessed Dec. 29, 2017