The Final Touches to Your Colorado Will

You did it! You wrote your will. Now you just need to make sure you have a clean final copy. It’s important that your will has no errors or spelling mistakes because any corrections written on the will you sign could invalidate it completely, or require an expensive court hearing for a judge to determine your intent. Here is a list of important things to remember when finishing your will.

1.    No cross-outs or corrections written on the will. If it’s necessary, you will need to re-type or re-write a corrected version. If you cross something out it could invalidate it completely.

2.    You must print a hard copy. A will that is stored in a computer has no legal significance. If you do not print a hard copy of your will to sign and date, it will not be valid.

3.    When you have a clean copy of your final will, you need to sign it to make it legal. This is called executing your will. You should date and sign your will in ink.

4.    When signing your will, you must use the name you used at the beginning of your will. If you are James Harold Smith at the beginning of the will, you must sign the will that way, not as James H. Smith or J.H. Smith.

5.    In Colorado, you can choose to sign your will in front of two witnesses (self-proving) or you may complete the “Testator Acknowledgment”, where you alone may sign in the presence of a notary. Complete only one of the two acknowledgments in the Last Will and Testament—Forms 39A, 39C and 39T.

To make a will self-proving, you and your witnesses must identify yourselves and sign the will before a notary using a special statutory attestation clause called a self-proving affidavit. The notary will then notarize everyone’s signatures on the self-proving affidavit. Bradford forms include this affidavit. Making the will self-proving greatly decreases the possibility that your will may be contested.

6.    Do not make multiple original, executed copies of your will. If you ever wanted to change your will or add a codicil, you would have to find all the originals and modify or destroy them. It could cause a huge legal mess if you have some versions of your will with codicils, some without, and some more recent than others. Make sure you only have one original of your will (whether or not you have modified it with codicils) in existence at a time.

Though it is a good idea to do so, note that you are not required to give a photocopy of your will to anyone, even your personal representative. If you do give a photocopy of your will to anyone you should realize that a photocopy of your will is not a valid will because you or your witnesses did not directly sign it.

 For more information and access to usable forms for wills and other estate planning documents, check out our “Colorado Will & Estate Planner ”.

Colorado Eviction: Employee Occupancy Law

If you rent from your employer or work for your landlord, there are special eviction laws for you. It’s important to be aware of the “Employee Occupancy Law.” Popular situations in which this dual relationship might occur include ski area employees living on property owned by the ski area, maintenance professionals living on the premises, and motel managers living on-site. The Employee Occupancy Law provides that, in certain situations, a “landlord” who is also an employer need not follow normal eviction procedures to dispossess a terminated employee who has been occupying the premises of an employer as a condition of employment. Rather, the employer may avail itself of a summary process, in which the employee receives at least three days’ written notice to vacate; and if the employee refuses, then the county sheriff can remove the tenant without delay. This is a much more condensed version of the standard eviction process.
Certain requirements and procedures are set forth in the Employee Occupancy Law.

1.    The employer/landlord and employee/tenant must have signed a written agreement which provides:

a.    The names of the employer and employee;

b.    A statement that the employer is granting the employee a license to occupy certain premises and that this license is provided to the employee as part of the employee’s compensation and is subject to termination at any time after the employment relationship ceases;

c.    The address of the premises; and

d.    The signature of the employer and employee.

2.    If the employee is terminated and the employer desires to terminate the employee’s occupancy, the employer must provide a “Notice of Termination” to the employee.

3.    If the employee fails to vacate the premises within the allotted time after the receipt of the Notice of Termination, the employer may then contact the county sheriff, who is authorized to remove the employee and any personal property of the employee.

For a list of requirements for the Notice of Termination or more information regarding the Employee Occupancy Law, check out the “Landlord & Tenant Guide to Colorado Leases and Eviction”, by Victor M. Grimm, Esq. and Denise E. Boehler, Certified Paralegal.

Developing Your Colorado Parenting Time Schedule

Where Should the Children Live?

Parenting time (where your children live and when they will live there) can feel like the most important part of your divorce agreement. If you find yourselves getting stuck and overwhelmed about this issue, remember that children change as they grow. The agreement you agonize over today may not work a year from now. Depending on the age and needs of the child, the plan can change. For example, the needs of children in early infancy are much different than those of school-age children. The “Friendly Divorce Guidebook” has possible parenting time plans for each age group.

Don’t expect to know right away what arrangements are going to be best for your children in the long term. Your first Parenting Plan may not be your final agreement.

Most parents begin a discussion of basic schedules by talking about whether it is in their children’s best interest, at the present, to have one home or two. The two-home concept requires a plan for those times when you will transfer the children between you. Following are some of the questions you will need to consider and discuss. Remember, you may have different responses for each of your children.
•    Is it important for your children to be in the same house on all school nights?

•    How important is it that your children settle in on Sunday night before school?

•    Is it important for your children to go to the same church with the same parent every week?

•    Can either parent take your child to any given recurring activity (soccer practice, Scouts, doctor’s appointment)?

•    Can your children go to the same school from either home or return home from their school to either home?

•    Is there a maximum amount of time that any of your children can tolerate being away from either of you?

•    How frequently do any of your children need to see each of you?

•    Do you live so far apart geographically that your children will probably stay with one parent during the school sessions and with the other during non-school time?

•    Is this the time to change the day care schedule or provider for one or more of the children?

•    Is it important to keep your children’s day care schedule the same for the time being, in the face of other changes in their lives right now?

These are just some questions to ask yourself when thinking about splitting time. The “Friendly Divorce Guidebook” by Arden Hauer MA, JD goes over many possible scenarios and offers great suggestions and tools to help make these difficult decisions.

Friendly Divorce?

We are excited and proud to announce the publication of the ninth edition of Friendly Divorce Guidebook for Colorado, How to Plan, Negotiate and File Your Divorce. Author Arden Hauer takes a thoughtful and detailed look at the divorce process, providing a wealth of information as well as ideas and suggestions on how to reach decisions and complete the required forms and paperwork.
“It has both practical advice and real life examples. In addition the Guidebook draws attention to complex financial issues, as well a legal red flags. The book is a reference for mediators, attorneys and pro se parties. It also has information on the emotional aspects of divorce and offers aids to therapists working in this area. As a mediator, therapist and educator this book has been part of my resources for years and I regularly recommend it to my clients”.
Jane Irvine MA, LPC, NCC

The ninth edition . . .

  • Provides detailed information about the new Colorado Maintenance Guidelines and includes a Maintenance Calculation form.
  • Shows current Colorado court forms with line-by-line instructions.
  • Explains Colorado Case management procedure, simplified and easy to understand.
  • Includes current IRS tax information every divorcing couple should know.

Arden Hauer has been an attorney-mediator for over twenty-five years, and offers mediation services for divorce, legal separation, and post-divorce matters at the Center for Non-Adversarial Divorce in Denver West and Evergreen, Colorado. She also offers options for the marriage in difficult mediations to help couples decide together what they are going to do, developing their own solutions, including marital agreements and other legal alternatives. For more information visit www.friendlydivorce.com.