Estate planning is an important practice that will give you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are protected, no matter what may come your way. Creating your Will allows you to take control over making sure important matters aren’t left up to chance.
The overall process of creating Wills is similar from state to state, but the specific requirements can have nuances. This is because the laws that govern estate plans and Wills vary from state to state. If you plan to make an online Will in Colorado, then you must take care to satisfy the requirements set forth by Colorado statutes in order for your Will to be valid. This guide will provide an overview of what you need to know about making a Will online in Colorado.
What You Need to Know About Making a Will Online in Colorado
The process of creating a valid Will in Colorado is determined by state statutes. The laws regarding the execution of a Will can be found in the 2021 Colorado Code, Intestate Succession and Wills §§ 15-11-501 — 15-11-505.
An online Will is recognized by Colorado probate courts so long as the above-cited legal requirements are satisfied. Trust & Will breaks down these legal requirements over the next several sections by answering some frequently asked questions on the topic.
How Much Does a Will Cost in Colorado?
On average, you can expect to spend roughly $200 to $1,000 on a Will in Colorado. This cost varies widely depending on three factors: method of execution, attorney fees, and complexity of the estate.
For example, an individual with a particularly robust or complex estate plan with special provisions may hire one of the most experienced estate planning attorneys in the state. This person’s estate planning costs will likely be in the higher range. The cost may even rise to several thousand dollars if they wish to establish a Trust.
However, most individuals have a relatively simple estate with straightforward objectives. Trust & Will’s online estate planning platform provides Colorado residents with an affordable alternative. You can create your state-specific online Will through our platform at a fraction of the cost.
Are Online Wills Valid in Colorado?
Yes, both online Wills and eWills are legal in Colorado.
On January 21, 2021, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed the Colorado Uniform Electronic Wills Act (CUEWA), effective immediately. CUEWA can be found in the Colorado Revised Statutes §§ 15-11-1301.
This means that not only can residents of the Centennial State create their Wills online, they may also witness, execute, and notarize their Wills electronically. Prior to this expansion of the statutes, a Will could be created online but still had to be printed on paper and signed and witnessed physically. Today, an eWill can remain in its digital format from end to end, never having to be reduced to paper.
With this exciting news in mind, here are the legal requirements for making an online Will:
You must be at least 18 years of age
You must be of sound mind
The Will must be in the form of readable text
You must sign the Will in front of two witnesses
Your two witnesses must also sign the Will
You can sign the Will in the presence of a notary
While these legal requirements remain the same, CUEWA includes adaptations to these laws that enable electronic Wills. For instance, it states that electronic Wills must be in “readable text” rather than using the terminology “in writing.” It also allows for either the physical or “electronic presence” of witnesses and notaries. Signatures can be affixed electronically. E-wills in Colorado are eligible for remote online notarization (RON) and allows witnesses to be in “electronic presence” using audio-video technology.
Can I Do My Own Will in Colorado?
Yes, you can execute and file your own Will in Colorado, so long as you are of legal age and sound mind. However, this should be done with great care. It can be difficult to master the proper legal language required; any errors or omissions could result in wishes that are unenforceable by law or could otherwise produce undesirable results.
If you don’t want to work with an attorney, an alternative solution to consider is creating an online Will using a trustworthy platform. For example, Trust & Will’s estate planning platform offers state-specific estate plans so you can have peace of mind knowing that your Will or eWill is compliant in Colorado and will achieve your desired outcomes.
What are the Requirements for an Online Will to Be Valid in Colorado?
The following outlines the legal requirements for a valid online Will in Colorado:
The Will must be in readable text.
The Testator (the person writing the Will) must be at least 18 years old and be of sound mind.
The Testator must either sign the Will in front of two witnesses and/or in the presence of a notary public.
Your witnesses can be any generally competent adult. Choosing beneficiaries as your witnesses will not invalidate your Will. However, this is generally discouraged as it can create conflicts of interest.
After they see the Testator sign the Will, the witnesses must also sign the Will shortly thereafter.
Note that Colorado is one of three states that allow Testators to sign their Will in the presence of a notary public instead of two witnesses. Typically, most states require Testators to sign their Will before two witnesses no matter what, and getting the Will notarized is an optional step. In Colorado, you could execute your Will and make it self-proving with a notary without witnesses.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Will in Colorado?
No, you do not need a lawyer to make a Will in Colorado. Generally speaking, Centennial State laws do not require you to hire a lawyer to create or execute a valid Will. However, you may want to consult an estate planning professional for advice if you have a large estate or special conditions that you wish to meet.
Otherwise, making your Will online is a reliable and convenient option. This is especially so when your wishes are straightforward and your estate is relatively simple. An online estate planning platform will guide you through the process of creating and executing a Will that is compliant in your state.
How Do I Sign an Online Will in Colorado?
Here are the steps to follow for signing and finalizing your Will in Colorado:
Finalize the contents of your Will
Sign your Will in front of two witnesses or a notary (can be an electronic signature)
Have your two witnesses or notary sign the Will in your presence (can be remote)
Optional: If you signed your Will before two witnesses, you may have your Will notarized if you wish for it to be self-proving
Here are some special considerations to note:
In Colorado, the legal action of divorce automatically eliminates your ex-spouse as a beneficiary from your Will.
However, you can’t automatically disinherit a surviving spouse at the event of your death if you are legally married.
To disinherit any adult children, you must use very precise wording. Omission does not work.
Common law marriages are recognized in the Centennial State.
While you may sign and execute your Will at a single point in time, the above considerations highlight special circumstances one may encounter at any time. Luckily, maintaining an online Will through a platform like Trust & Will can make revising and updating your existing Will a more seamless experience.
Do Wills in Colorado Have to be Notarized?
No, a Will does not need to be notarized in Colorado. However, it is an optional but strongly encouraged action that you can take if you wish for your Will to be self-proving.
Now that Colorado has enabled the recognition of both eWills and remote online notarization (RON), getting your Will notarized is even easier. Trust & Will has partnered with Notarize, a trusted online notary service to allow for the seamless notarization of eWills online.
During the notarization (online or physical), you and your witnesses will confirm your identities and make sworn statements. An affidavit is signed, notarized, and attached to the Will. This process proves that the notary knows who you are and confirms that each person was aware that they were signing the Will.
If the Will is already self-proved, then the probate court won’t have to call upon the witnesses to testify regarding the Will’s validity. This can help minimize potential issues and allow the probate process to proceed more quickly.
Colorado is one of very few states that allow Testators to sign their Will in the presence of a notary in place of witnesses. This means that if you wish, you can execute and make your Will self-proving through a notary in one fell swoop.
Who Can Witness a Will in Colorado?
Any competent adult can witness a Will in Colorado. However, a Testator should be careful not to select a beneficiary (an interested party) as a witness. While Colorado statutes do not automatically invalidate a Will if a beneficiary is a witness, this could be cause for conflicts of interest. It is generally advised to select a disinterested party to witness your Will to avoid any challenges.
How to Create Colorado Last Will and Testament Online
Colorado now recognizes eWills, making the online Will creation process even more seamless. Once you create your Will, you no longer have to print it out if you wish to maintain an electronic or digital format. This will provide a much more convenient and affordable alternative to estate planning the traditional way.
With this in mind, here is an overview of the steps of creating an online Will in Colorado:
Select a trusted online estate planning platform, service, or template.
Draft your Will
Review and finalize your Will
Sign the Will (electronically allowed)
Obtain signatures from two competent witnesses (digital allowed)
Optional: get your Will notarized if you want it to be self-proving (electronic/remote allowed)
Store your Will in a secure storage space online, such as a digital vault
Review and revise your Will regularly
What Can I Include in an Online Will in Colorado?
Here are some ideas on what can be included in your online Will:
An inventory of your property and assets
A list of your Beneficiaries
Gifts made to specific individuals or organizations
Your nominated Executor who should handle your estate
A Guardian for any minor or dependent children (or pets)
A named individual to manage property for dependent children
Last wishes regarding your remains, funeral, burial, cremation, etc.
Any final instructions or notes for loved ones
The contents of a Last Will and Testament vary widely based on an individual’s personal circumstances, as well as the objectives they wish to achieve. Must estate planning platforms such as Trust & Will will guide you through a series of questions and prompts to help create a Will customized to your unique needs.
Create Your Online Will in Colorado Today
Can you create an online Will in Colorado? Not only is the answer “yes,” starting January 2021, you can create a fully digital Will, otherwise known as an eWill.
Previously, you could create an online Will in Colorado, but you had to print it out. The state expanded its statutes following the COVID-19 pandemic such that eWills are recognized. This means you no longer have to print out your Will or even leave your house to execute your Will. To make this possible, you will use electronic or digital means to create, sign, witness, and notarize your Will.
However, one thing remains unchanged. The key to successfully creating an online Will in Colorado is making sure that you satisfy state-specific requirements. Creating your Will online, no matter your location, is a convenient and affordable alternative to working with an estate planning attorney. This guide provided an overview of the online Will requirements in the Centennial State that you should be aware of.
At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement options today!
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Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.