Wills have many potential benefits. For one, they can provide individuals with significant control over what will happen upon their death. However, such benefits can only be realized if a will is enforceable.
Things that make a will invalid
There are various requirements wills have to meet to be enforceable here in Colorado. Things that generally invalidate wills include:
- A will not being put down in writing: Oral wills are not allowed in Colorado, they have to be written or typed.
- A person not being of sound mind when the will was formed: This can be a particular issue for wills of dementia sufferers.
- Not having enough witnesses: Typically, a will has to have the signatures of at least two witnesses to be valid. There are exceptions to this, however. For one, the witness requirement doesn’t have to be met if the person the will is for handwrote the will’s material provisions and the signature.
- The will’s formation not being truly voluntary: This includes things like a will being formed under duress or as a result of undue influence.
It’s also possible for particular provisions of a will to be found unenforceable. There are certain will conditions courts will not enforce. For example, individuals are generally not allowed to condition gifts in a will on divorce, marriage or religion changes. Also, there are certain types of assets wills can’t control, such as property that has its own beneficiary designations.
Avoiding enforceability problems
Enforceability problems can defeat the entire purpose of a will. So, avoiding mistakes or oversights that could trigger such problems is critical when making a will. Skilled estate planning attorneys can help individuals with taking steps to ensure a will and its provisions will be enforceable.