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HOW TO ESTABLISH A WILL IN COLOMBIA

To establish a will in Colombia, the Colombian Civil Code defines a will as a solemn act. The individual conveys all or part of his property to another person after his death. All gifts and promises that are not made irrevocable, but for the death of the promisor or donor, are subject to the same legal requirements as a will. Promises or gifts between a husband and wife are an exception, but although they are revocable, they can be created in the form of inter vivos contracts.

MODIFICATION OF THE WILL

All wills are essentially revocable or modifiable; however, testators have the authority to determine whether or not they can be modified. Unreasonable clauses derived from future applications of a will will will be considered as unwritten even if they were confirmed by an oath. If, in a previous will, it was ordered that the revocation of the new will not be considered valid without specific words or requests, the order will be considered as unwritten.
 

TESTATOR’S SHARES

Article 1059 of the Colombian Civil Code establishes that only a person may write and have control of his or her will. If any clause or provision within the will grants authority to a third party in addition to the testator, then those clauses or provisions are void. Article 1060 provides that the capacity to create a will is not delegable.
 

WHAT PERSON CANNOT BE A TESTATOR?

Article 1061 of the Colombian Civil Code states that the following individuals cannot be testators: a minor; an individual who has insanity; an individual at the time of writing a will who is not of sound mind, intoxicated or mentally unstable; and anyone who cannot write his or her will effectively or sensibly. Any will written while a person is affected by any of the disqualifications enumerated in Article 1061 shall be void.
 

TYPES OF WILLS

Under Colombian law, a will may be solemn or less solemn. A solemn will may be defined as a will in which all validations generally required by law have been recognized. The less solemn will lacks the validations required by law.
The solemn will is either open or closed. If it is open, it is public before the notary’s office and the testator shows it to the notary to check its validity and modify it in time. If the will is closed, so it is secret and is not shown to witnesses or the notary, it has a high degree of risk for the will, since the notary cannot make a validity check on it.
 

PUBLICATION OF THE WILL

Article 1065 of the Colombian Civil Code establishes that the publication of the will shall be made before the judge of the last address of the testator. If the notary and the persons who must acknowledge their signatures are not present at the time of publication, then the publication shall be carried out before the judge designated by the procedural laws.
 
Author: Attorney Jr. of Cuadro Legal Abogados
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