Although you are not required to have a will (or any other estate planning document), it is a good idea to have one in place when you pass away. Having a will in place allows you to dictate who will inherit your property and how much they get.
Without a will in place, the state's intestate succession laws will dictate how your hard earned assets will pass on to your heirs. This can have unintended consequences, since these laws don't consider your wishes nor your family's most important needs.
Consequently, the driving force behind writing a will, for most people, is the potential to manage the distribution of their property after they pass away. Understanding what happens to your property after you pass away in Colorado without a will can help you understand the significance of proper estate planning.
Nearly all estates in Colorado have to go through the state's probate process and whether you die with or without a will in place will determine a number of things, including:
When you die without a will, you have missed the chance to apply estate planning strategies that might have removed property from your probate estate, potentially saving you and your loved ones time and money. Federal and state laws allow some property to be considered outside of your estate for probate purposes, such as:
Passing away with a will in place is referred to as dying testate. Passing away without a will in place is referred to as dying intestate.
When you pass away intestate, Colorado intestate succession laws will disperse your estate as follows:
The word "children" refers to both children and grandchildren. In the event that a child dies before a parent, but the grandchildren are alive, the grandchildren will inherit the child/parent's share.
Spousal Rights overrule a will, except when the parties have entered into a pre or post-nuptial agreement. The spouse can choose to take against the will if it allows them to inherit more property by law than the will.
Dying intestate in Colorado often brings about a number of unwanted consequences, like:
To find out more about dying with or without a will in Colorado, consult with an experienced Colorado estate planning attorney.