The loss of a loved one is a painful experience that we all, unfortunately, must go through several times in our lives, yet no matter how many times we face it, it doesn’t get any easier or less depressing. Regardless if it was due to old age, sickness, or negligence, dealing with a death in the family causes suffering for months and years to come. The void of that person is never filled and sadly, on the financial side of the matter, money and assets become tied up in the process, causing further stress and strife.
Will readings and inheritance can bring out the worst in families as all they see are dollar signs and imagine the amounts and assets they’ll receive when a loved one passes. It really diminishes the love and grieving, but we see it constantly from people you often wouldn’t expect it from. Money does something to people and inheritance can really exacerbate the death of a family member. The most important thing you can do for your loved ones when creating you will is to hire a Denver inheritance lawyer to help you write the will and ensure that everything is legal and binding so that:
- You know that your family members won’t fight over it and
- The Denver family law attorney can clear up any confusion when inheritance comes up.
Normally, older individuals will plan out and write their will with a Denver family law attorney and have two witnesses, who will not receive any inheritance, sign the document to make it legally binding. When signing a will, you need to be in a sound and stable state of mind, otherwise, it is possible to contest the contents of the will. Choosing appropriate witnesses who can testify to your mental capacities is crucial.
Once a will is signed and the person passes away, the state respects those wishes and the finances, property, and assets pass to the appointed parties without any issue. Colorado does not have inheritance nor estate taxes, but there are basic taxes to be paid before the next tax deadline date.
If a person dies without a will, or if the signed will is invalid due to lack of mental capacity, the state will appoint an executor to divide the assets evenly. The court will intervene in an invalid, otherwise known as intestate, will in one of three ways.
- The court will use formal probate if heirs will contest the division of assets
- The court will use informal probate when there will not be contestation
- The court will use small estate probate for estates valued under $50,000.
In the case that a person died without a will, but has a surviving spouse, they will receive all money, property, and assets. If the person dies without a will and has a surviving child but not a spouse, they will receive all of the estate. In the case that a person dies without a will, but has a spouse and children, the assets will be divided amongst them by the executor. It’s best to have a will to spell out all inheritance, because without a will things can quickly become tricky, especially if the deceased had a previous marriage and children from that marriage.
In any event, it is best to hire a Colorado inheritance lawyer to help you draft a will to avoid confusion, headaches, and heartbreak down the road. Additionally, you’ll need a Denver inheritance lawyer if a loved one dies without a written will. This is just a brief overview of inheritance law in Colorado and we highly recommend calling our offices to consult with a Denver family law attorney who can explain more of the intricacies of inheritance, help you draft a will, prove a will intestate, or challenge the contents of it if you believe unfair play was involved. Call or email us today for more information.