Colorado Estate Planning

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The Purpose of An Estate Plan

Estate planning encompasses financial and emotional considerations. This ensures your assets, privacy and end of life wishes are respected. The end result is your family avoids infighting and saves money. We help you avoid probate, qualify for medicaid, choose a guardian for minors, minimize estate taxes and more.

These goals are accomplished via drafting a will or trust along with other documents. This page's purpose is to familiarize you with the various documents and questions that will arise while crafting your estate plan in Colorado.

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.

Minimizing Estate Tax

Colorado has no estate tax. However, there is still a federal limit. In the previous thirty years the federal estate tax limit for an individual has ranged from $500,000 to $10,000,000. The purpose of pointing this out is to highlight that while the limit may currently be high it can swing wildly and unpredictably. For that reason an estate plan should plan for the contingency of higher rates or lower ceilings regardless of where things currently stand.

Planning for Long-term Care

Planning for long-term care is a frequently overlooked element of estate planning but is crucial if there is a chance you may require any type of long-term care, 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 to pay for long-term care. This is referred to as avoiding the medicaid death tax. Emergency medicaid planning strategies are also available for those facing immediate decisions.

State Specific Estate Plan Laws

Technically speaking, there is no legal requirement to have an estate plans. If someone passes away in Colorado and does not have an estate plan or a will, the state will decide what to do with their property and assets. 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.

Estate Planning Documents & Forms

Our estate planning process is designed to avoid inconveniencing you and your family. The documents we draft for you are ready to print and sign. Our processing involves a consultation and questionnaire which enables us to provide a comprehensive solution for your Colorado estate plan. Our job is to make things easy on you.

Whether a Colorado trust should be part of your estate planning or not depends on your particular situation. If a trust is advantageous, then our estate planning attorneys will help you choose the type of trust that is appropriate for your situation. The ideal type of trust will vary based on your legal needs, investment goals, and tax planning considerations. These estate planning goals will be balanced when choosing the appropriate trust for your family.

When most people think about estate planning, they think of writing 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 assets and property or younger parents. However, while drafting a will brings many benefits, we generally advise using a living trust as a more efficient tool because it will help to avoid probate.

Your advance health care 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.

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 certain situations or to give vast power in almost any situation. 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 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.

It can be intimidating to create an estate plan because most people do not want to face their own mortality. But having an estate plan is essential if you want to ensure your property and assets are divided up according to your wishes. 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. The five most important parts of an estate plan are the following: trust, will, power of attorney, planning for long-term care, and advance health care directives. The trust may be either an revocable trust or an asset protection trust.

With so many documents playing a key role in Colorado estate planning, it is wise to consult an expert in the field. A qualified and experienced attorney will guide you through the selection of which documents you should create as well as the process of completing them.