With estate planning, you are able to prepare yourself as well as your family for what comes in the future. Estate planning is best done with the assistance of a law firm with compassion and experience. This allows for individualized strategies that work best for your particular situation.
Technically speaking, there is no legal requirement for estate plans. Those who pass away in Colorado and do not have an estate plan or a will, have the state decide what to do with their property. Assuming you have more than minimal assets, however, you likely want to control the distribution of your assets. If this is the case, you will need to create some sort of an estate plan.
Probate is expensive, public and time consuming. There are no benefits to having your estate distributed via the probate court. Fortunately, avoiding probate in Colorado is easy. There are a few exemptions, such as the small estate limit, along with joint tenancy, beneficiary designations, and the drafting of a will or trust. We generally advise the use of a living trust for our clients.
It can be intimidating to create your estate plan. You do not want to face your own mortality. But it is essential if you want to ensure your family is provided for when you pass. With the right guidance, the process of planning your estate becomes relatively straightforward. An experienced law firm can guide you through the entire process. They will ensure you create a comprehensive estate plan that covers every necessary element. There are five main elements of estate planning: the trust, will, power of attorney, planning for long-term care, and health-care directives and documents. The trust may be either an revocable trust or an asset protection trust.
This is a frequently overlooked element of estate planning but is crucial if there is a chance you may require any type of care in the long term, such as assisted living or a nursing home. There are various gifting strategies and trusts that can prevent you from using up all your assets due to this long-term care.
Your advance directive acts as a legal document outlining your chosen medical care. This directive is used if you are unable to make independent decisions or communicate in the future. These directives commonly indicate scenarios where you do not want doctors to make efforts to extend your life, like with a do-not-resuscitate order. An advanced health care directive can also be referred to as a living will.
Whether a Colorado trust should be part of your estate planning or not will depend on your particular situation. If a trust is advantageous, then our estate planning attorney will help you choose from the available types. The ideal type will vary based on your legal needs, investment goals, and tax planning. These estate planning goals will be balanced when choosing your family's trust.
When most people picture estate planning, they think of crafting their will. This is among the most important documents as it can accomplish multiple goals. A will in Colorado outlines instructions for distributing your property when you pass. In the case of those with minor children, it outlines who will become their guardians. In some situations, a will may be all that you need for estate planning. This is more common among older people with more modest estates and younger parents. However, while drafting a will brings many benefits, we generally advise using a living trust as a more efficient tool for avoiding probate.
A durable of attorney is a legal instrument that allows someone else to legally make decisions on your behalf. You can craft the power of attorney to give very narrow power to make decisions in only set situations or to give vast power in broader situations. With a power of attorney, you select someone that you trust to make important life-altering decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Ideally, this document should give the person legal power for a range of situations, including money and medical care.
With so many documents playing a key role in Colorado estate planning, it is wise to consult an expert in the field. They will guide you through the selection of which documents you should create as well as the process of completing them.