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Colorado Wills Laws

The best way to ensure that your estate -- including all of your belongings and financial holdings -- is handled according to your wishes is to write a will. A well-written will can make the process of transitioning property to survivors relatively pain-free, while also offering a chance to express personal sentiments toward loved ones. Most people don't think about their own mortality while they're in good health, but that's the best time to write a will. In fact, it's important to remember that death can take anyone at any time.

State laws regulate what constitutes a valid will, witness requirements, whether oral wills are valid, and so on. If you die without a will, your estate is handled in probate court, which is often complicated, expensive, and time-consuming.

Colorado Wills Laws at a Glance

In order for a will to be considered valid in the state of Colorado, the testator must be at least 18 years old, have it signed by at least two witnesses (either before or after the testator's death), and have it either typed or handwritten. The state does not recognize oral (or "noncupative") wills.

In addition to naming benefactors (including organizations) for one's possessions, testators may name guardians to care for minors, name an adult to take care of property left to minor children, and name a personal representative to ensure the will is carried out properly.

Additional details about Colorado law with respect to wills are listed in the following chart. See FindLaw's Wills section for more articles and resources.

Code Section 15-11-501, et seq.
Age of Testator 18 years or older and of sound mind
Number of Witnesses Signed by at least two "generally competent" persons, either before or after the testator's death, each of whom signed within a reasonable time after he or she witnessed, in the conscious presence of the testator, either the signing or testator's acknowledgment of signature or of will.
Nuncupative (Oral Wills) Not recognized
Holographic Wills Valid whether or not there are witnesses if signature and material provisions are in handwriting of testator.

Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through the passage of new legislation, decisions by higher courts, or voter-approved ballot initiatives. Be sure to contact a Colorado estate planning and wills attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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