If you’re at all familiar with estate plans, you’ll know that these documents outline how your assets will be treated in the event of your death, and who will make your medical and financial decisions should you become incapacitated.
But that’s not all they do. A well-formed estate plan can also provide asset protection, reduce or even eliminate taxation, provide guidance and protection for heirs, and more.
It’s easy to put off estate planning until tomorrow or later in life, but unexpected events can occur at any time, and tomorrow might never come. When these events happen, having a well-thought-out and legally binding estate plan can make all the difference for you and your loved ones.
A complete estate plan can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, but it will typically include the following: a will or trust, powers of attorney, and specifying your healthcare wishes with a living will.
At Colorado Estate Matters, Ltd., our team of Denver estate planning attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients create comprehensive estate plans that fit their unique needs and goals to ensure that their plans will be carried out exactly as they intended. To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us at (303) 713-9147.
No matter your age, stage in life, or health status, now is the time to start thinking about your estate plan.
When a person dies without a will in place (intestate), their assets are subject to Colorado’s probate laws, which include a very specific set of instructions, which may not be in accordance with the decedent’s wishes which could leave their loved ones frustrated, angry, and disappointed. This process is often more complicated and more expensive for their heirs than if they had taken the time to create a will.
In contrast, when a person dies with a will in place, their assets are distributed according to the wishes laid out in that document. This allows them to have control over what will happen to their hard-earned assets and have peace of mind for their loved ones after they’ve passed.
Even if you don’t have significant assets, you should still consider creating an estate plan. For example, if you have minor children, you should name a guardian who will care for them in the event of your death. You might want certain sentimental items to go to specific family members or friends, something that might not be achieved if not for a will. You might have specific wishes for your medical care if you’re no longer able to make those decisions.
Trusts, health care directives, assisted living plans, and powers of attorney are all part of estate planning and are all customizable to fit your specific needs. Working with our estate planning lawyers will help ensure that you choose the right tools for your unique circumstances.
While anyone can benefit from having an estate plan, there are certain groups of people who might need one most pertinently. If any of the following describes you, don’t wait to consult with a Denver estate attorney.
If you have children under 18 years of age, an estate plan can help you prepare for the worst-case scenario by naming a legal guardian to care for them in the event of your death. You can also use an estate plan to establish a trust which will financially provide for your children, including releasing funds at certain ages or milestones.
From savings and investments to real estate and family heirlooms, your assets comprise your estate. Without an estate plan, the fate of your assets will be at the mercy of the court system and may be fought over amongst your family. An estate plan can save your heirs needless bickering and costs and you’ll decide exactly how your assets will be distributed when you die.
Having a disability can present unique challenges when it comes to estate planning. For example, you might need to establish a trust to ensure that you continue to receive government benefits.
You might also need to appoint someone to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf if your disability leaves you incapacitated. An estate plan can help you address these challenges and make sure that you are taken care of both now and in the future.
Your estate plan should evolve with you as you age. This may include updating your will to reflect changes in your asset base, changing your health care directives, or setting up a trust to help you qualify for long-term care benefits. Whether you have an existing estate plan or are just getting started, our experienced estate planning lawyers can help you make sure that your plan meets your current needs.
Whatever your situation, having a comprehensive estate plan in place helps reduce financial and familial risk in the future. A complete estate plan should include:
The compassionate team of lawyers at Colorado Estate Matters, Ltd. have the know-how to help you navigate the estate planning process with ease.
When you work with a reputable estate attorney in Denver, you can be confident that your documents will be prepared based on your wishes and in compliance with Colorado law.
If you’re concerned about the cost of long-term care, we can help you develop an assisted living plan, also known as a long-term care plan, which can help ensure that you can afford the care you need without depleting your life savings. This can involve anything from the purchase of long-term care insurance to the creation of a trust to pay for your care.
The cost of care for disabled people can be significant, and conventional health insurance often doesn’t cover these costs. Medicaid can help you pay for care should the need arise, but it has strict eligibility requirements, so proactive planning is essential. Our attorneys can help you prepare for the possibility of disability and ensure that you’ll be able to access the care that you might need.
You can establish either a financial power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, or both, which will give another person the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. This can be helpful if you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions independently. For example, if you are hospitalized and unable to communicate, a power of attorney can give your spouse the authority to make decisions regarding your medical care.
An advanced healthcare directive is a document that allows you to express your wishes regarding your medical care in the event that you’re unable to communicate them yourself. This can include everything regarding your preferences for end-of-life care, being resuscitated, or whether or not you want your organs donated.
A life insurance trust is created for the purpose of owning a life insurance policy but with extra potential benefits, such as keeping the policy proceeds out of your estate for tax purposes and to better control how the proceeds are used.
A trust is a legal entity that can own property and assets on your behalf. A revocable trust can be modified or dissolved at any time as long as you are alive and competent. An irrevocable trust, on the other hand, cannot be modified or dissolved once it has been created.
A will is a document that describes how you would like your property and assets to be distributed when you die. A testamentary trust is a trust that’s created by a will and can be used to provide for minor children or disabled adults, or to control how your assets are distributed after your death.
If you’re concerned about the possibility of losing your assets to creditors or lawsuits, our asset protection planning services can help you shield your assets from unexpected legal claims while still allowing you to access them if you need them.
The future is impossible to predict, but proper estate planning can help you be prepared for whatever might come your way.
At Colorado Estate Matters, Ltd., our approach is simple: we take the time to understand your goals, values, and concerns so build an estate plan that works for you now and that evolves with you as you age, always keeping you one step ahead.
If you’re ready to move into your future with the peace of mind that you and your estate will be handled appropriately should an unfortunate situation arise, contact the Denver estate planning attorneys today. To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call at (303) 713-9147. We look forward to serving you.