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What are the witness requirements for a valid Colorado will?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Creating a will is an important estate planning move that can protect an individual and their family members in the future. They can name beneficiaries, clarify what each person inherits and even name a guardian for their children.

However, a will might only be a source of conflict if someone does not adhere to appropriate legal practices when drafting an estate plan. Someone’s loved ones could end up fighting over their legacy in probate court if they do not plan carefully. Ensuring that documents align with Colorado statutes and that family members do not find the terms shocking are both ways to reduce the likelihood of probate litigation after someone dies.

There are several important requirements for estate planning outlined in Colorado state law, including an obligation to have proper witness attestation when drafting a written will. There are actually two options for witnesses under existing rules in Colorado.

Notarization is one option

A notary public is someone who carries a state seal and has training on how to validate the identity of individuals. They look at state-issued identification to affirm that someone is who they claim to be and can then witness the signing of documents. Notarization is often necessary for certain types of important paperwork, such as deeds. Colorado does recognize notarization as one form of officially witnessing an estate plan.

Adult witnesses are another option

Notarization is not always necessary to create a valid will in Colorado. Someone only needs the signatures of two adult witnesses to create a valid and enforceable will. Those witnesses either need to watch someone sign their estate planning documents or hear that individual attest that they affixed their signature to the documents.

Depending on the circumstances, a testator may want to have a notary present when executing their estate planning documents or may choose to bring in two witnesses to sign the paperwork. Either approach can reduce the likelihood that others may raise claims of fraud or a lack of testamentary capacity in the Colorado probate courts later.

Learning about necessary requirements for estate plans may benefit those preparing to leave a meaningful legacy. Testators who have legally-compliant documents set their families up for a simpler probate process.