Yes, the state of Colorado recognizes handwritten wills as legally valid as long as these wills have been written and signed by the testator (i.e., the individual creating the will). In fact, when it comes to holographic wills in Colorado, here’s what’s generally important for people to understand:
- Material portions of the will have to have been written by the testator – In other words, while the entire will doesn’t have to be handwritten, the substantial portions of it will need to have been written by the testator in order for the will to be considered legitimate. If the testator is physically unable to write (due to a debilitating medical condition, for instance), another party can draft the will, with the testator’s authorization, on behalf of the testator.
- Holographic wills don’t have to be witnessed or notarized – This is in contrast to non-holographic wills in Colorado, which have to be signed in the presence of two witnesses and which then have to be notarized.
- The law provides for “writings intended as wills” to count as wills – In fact, this means that even if something intended to be a holographic will doesn’t meet the standards set by Colorado law, the court may still accept the writings as a form of a will if there is enough evidence to prove that’s what the document was intended to be. Additionally, this “evidence” can be in the document itself (e.g., with phrasing like, “this document is intended to serve as a last will and testament for Mr. X).
- Although the law opens up room for various forms of holographic wills to be valid, these less formal wills can be associated with some significant disadvantages – And the major downsides to holographic wills lie in the facts that they can be open to ambiguous language, they may not include all of the necessary terms, or they may stipulate terms that increase the duration and/or costs of probate. These disadvantages, which can undercut the value of having a will in the first place, generally arise from the lack of professional oversight that an experienced estate lawyer would bring to the table.
The Bottom Line on Holographic Wills in Colorado
When it comes to holographic wills in Colorado, the bottom line is that it’s best to try to avoid relying on these wills if you are truly serious about protecting your legacy and loved ones in the future.
While there may be times when reliance on a holographic will is unavoidable, when at all possible, it’s best to work with a skilled estate planning lawyer who can work with you to develop a will (and possibly other estate planning devices) to ensure your final wishes are preserved and carried out in the future.
Contact the Pueblo Lawyers at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth
For the highest quality services and representation for estate planning and probate in Colorado, contact the experienced Pueblo lawyers at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth. Skilled and respected, our lawyers have been dedicated to helping our clients navigate the complexities of the legal system and to favorably resolving their important legal issues since 1972.
To learn more about how we can assist you, contact us by calling (719) 556- 8844 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.
From our offices based in Pueblo, we represent clients in Trinidad, La Jara, Lamar, Walsenburg, Alamosa and throughout the state of Colorado.