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Does Colorado require 2 witness signatures for a Enhanced Life Estate Deed to be effective?

Austin, TX |

We bought a enhanced life estate deed form online to transfer my wife's property to our daughter via a enhanced life estate deed. The form contained 2 witness blanks and a notary blank. My wife, one witness, and the notary all signed the form. We did not get a 2nd witness to sign the document. I was told by a friend living in Colorado that he had recorded deed before without any witness signatures. We live in Texas and I know that witness signatures are not required on most deeds. If I proceed with recording the Enhanced Life Estate Deed will the lack of one of the witnesses invalidate the Will?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

I agree with Attorney Voeller. I add this, only in case you mistyped your last question and MEANT whether the lack of witness signature would invalidate the Deed. Colorado law appears to require only the grantor(s) and notary to sign.

I am concerned, however, that if you got this form online, that it might not do what you are trying to do. The presence of witness lines where none are required is just one clue that something may be amiss. Given that you do not know the requirements, it would be a really good idea to at least have the deed reviewed by an attorney, before attempting to record it. That way, if there are problems, you can easily correct them. If not, you will have some additional peace of mind. Estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project and the use of pre-printed online forms can and often does result in costly problems.

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.

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David Grant Voeller

David Grant Voeller

Posted

James brings up a good point. Make sure you get an attorney to verify that this is the type of deed you want. An enhanced life estate deed usually refers to a deed used for Medicaid planning when trying to avoid Medicaid Estate Recovery. We call them "Ladybird deeds" here in Texas. The enhanced life estate deed is different than a deed transferring a life estate or remainder interest, and usually doesn't transfer any interest in property. It only transfers a possible future interest. Unless you are trying to engage in Medicaid planning, (for which you’ll definitely need an attorney) you may want to make sure you’re using the right type of deed. I wouldn’t advise transferring the property unless you have consulted with an attorney first.

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

Agreed!

Asker

Posted

Mr. Frederick, you are correct, I did mistyped my last question and meant whether it would invalidate the Deed. I will have a Colorado attorney review the document just to be sure. Thanks! Mr. Voeller, thank you for your answer as well. Fortunately we are not using the deed for Medicaid planning. We just wanted to make sure that my daughter will get the property without having to go through probate in the event my wife passes away without selling the property.

Posted

The lack of a witness on an enhanced life estate deed will not have any effect on the grantor's Will. The Will and the deed are two totally separate instruments.

In Texas, the only time we need witnesses to a deed are when the grantor is signing with a mark or an X. Otherwise, as you stated, we don't need witnesses for a deed to be valid. I am not licensed in Colorado, so I'm not sure what the law there requires. Make sure you check with a Colorado attorney just to be sure.

Just to confirm the answer to your primary question, like I mentioned previously, a deed has no bearing on the validity of a Will.

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Posted

Both attorneys offer sound advice and discuss the issues you should be concerned about. In any event, if you have any wealth at all, you should have a trained estates attorney assist you in these very important matters. This is how expensive law suits arise after a person dies.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is <http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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