Writing a will can leave people asking many questions and oftentimes, they have no clear answer whatsoever. Over the years, society has instilled a series of ideas that people hold true about wills and it is important to see them as myths and not so much as facts. It is important to debunk some of these myths and learn what the fact truly are.
- The state gets the entirety of the property if the person dies without a will.
This one seems to be the biggest myth of them all, since a lot of people seem to believe that if the person dies without a will, the state will somehow show up and scoop the person’s property and leave nothing for the surviving family. This is simply not true. If a person dies without a will, this is called intestate succession and every state has their individual way of handling this situation. Fortunately, in Colorado, if a person dies without a will, then his estate will likely go to his surviving family. Typically, it goes to the parents or to his or her descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.) If there aren’t any, then it is the spouse who gets the intestate property.
- The eldest child should be the executor of the testator’s estate.
This is another lie that people tend to believe in. Just because someone is the oldest sibling, does not mean that they are entitled to be the executor of their deceased parent’s estate. Usually, the testator will appoint someone to become the executor after their death.
- The testator can choose to write their spouse out of the will.
In some cases, the testator chooses not to leave anything to their spouse. Sometimes, they leave everything to their kids or to charities. In Colorado, spouses have an elective share that allows them to obtain an amount of 50% of the estate.