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Wheat Ridge Estate Planning Attorney

Did you recently get married? Maybe you added another member to your family? Or perhaps you are reaching the age of retirement and are thinking about what is next for your life.

No matter what stage of life you are in, it is important to have your estate plans in order. But putting together estate plans can also be far more detailed than many people are prepared for. If you are going to take the time to craft an estate plan, you want to do it correctly and completely.

Make sure you have an experienced Wheat Ridge estate planning attorney at Colorado Estate Matters, Ltd. working with you to develop strong estate plans you can count on. Schedule a free consultation today when you call our office at (303) 713-9147 to start working on yours.

Wheat Ridge estate planning attorney

Estate planning gives you the power to plan for your future

There are many reasons to start estate planning today – you don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and it takes time to organize a well-crafted estate plan. When you prepare for the future, you ease the stress on your family, who must process your estate while mourning. A solid estate plan also prevents asset disputes, ensuring your wishes will be honored.

Estate plans aren’t just for the wealthy

Everyone needs an estate plan, even if your possessions are few or you don’t have close family to provide for. It consists of much more than a will to allocate your assets. Estate plans provide legal protection in case you have an accident and cannot advocate for yourself, names a guardian who you trust for your children, and shields your assets from creditors and collections, thus providing more for your heirs.

Who could benefit the most from an estate plan?

Some Colorado families have unique circumstances that make thoughtful, personalized estate planning necessary. As your estate planning attorney in Wheat Ridge, we advise you of the right protections for your current needs and future plans.

Parents of minor children or children with special needs

Colorado courts appoint a guardian for minor children if both parents pass away unless the parents created an estate plan that names their preference for a legal guardian. Consider carefully who you want to make important decisions and provide care for your children, and make your wishes known with your estate plan.

Parents of a child with special needs have an even greater need for child-focused estate planning. This child will also need a supportive guardian, so make sure you’re in control of this decision.

Special needs children and adults can benefit from a Special Needs Trust (SNT), which is a trust specifically designed to provide income and assets for someone with special needs. Because most people receive government benefits and healthcare, transferring assets through a regular trust or bequeathment could jeopardize the recipient’s benefits eligibility.

An SNT is structured to protect this eligibility while still allowing the special needs person financial benefit from the contents of the trust, like additional income or supplying non-Medicaid covered medical equipment.

wheat ridge estate planning lawyer

People with substantial assets

The IRS assesses estate taxes on estates valued over $12.92 million. This may seem like a lot of money, and it is. But, when you consider that an estate contains everything the individual owns, from real estate, investment accounts and retirement funds, fine jewelry, and vehicles, it’s not surprising that assets add up quickly.

If you have assets over $10 million, smart estate planning helps avoid excessive estate taxes, such as establishing trusts for your loved ones and thus protecting the assets in the trust from estate taxes. A trust isn’t the only legal protection your Wheat Ridge estate tax attorney drafts. At Colorado Estate Matters, our Wheat Ridge estate planning attorneys review your financial status and goals and advise you on the best protection for your family.

People with disabilities

A primary goal of estate planning for people with disabilities is the protection of their benefits eligibility. We can create an SNT for you while you’re alive – the recipient still benefits financially from it, but the contents aren’t counted as income for benefits eligibility purposes.

For example, someone injured in an accident and rendered disabled may have received a settlement. The settlement covers their current medical care and future needs. Estate planning or establishing an SNT preserves their benefits qualification while allowing them to benefit financially from the settlement.

Even though most of the settlement money isn’t subject to Colorado or federal taxation, there are a few exceptions that affect some people. Any punitive damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit are taxable. And, if you deduct medical expenses on a prior year’s tax return, some of the settlement money could be taxed in a subsequent year.

As your asset protection attorney in Wheat Ridge, we structure your assets to maintain your benefits eligibility and give you a steady income from any settlement you receive.


Estate planning for seniors isn’t just writing a will. It involves making strategic plans for investments to provide income and preserve funds to cover late-in-life care, which can be expensive.

It also considers maximizing your Social Security benefits, which you can start collecting at age 62 so that you make the right withdrawals from retirement accounts.

Which estate planning documents could help you and your family achieve your goals?

Trust a Colorado Estate Matters estate planning attorney to help you achieve your financial goals, protect your assets, and provide legal protection for your heirs.

Will or trust

Our Wheat Ridge estate planning attorneys will draft a will according to Colorado inheritance laws to allocate your assets. You can name an executor you trust, or our legal firm also offers professional estate administration services.

Trusts contain assets owned by a third party (the trust) and administered by the trustee. The trustee can be the founder – you – or another. Trusts allow you to enjoy the financial benefits of the assets without paying certain taxes. You can also establish trusts to pay for a child’s college or provide income for a loved one.

Powers of attorney or living will

A power of attorney authorizes another to make healthcare or financial decisions on your behalf. A living will typically contain your healthcare directives; both these documents ensure your wishes are honored if you cannot advocate for yourself.

Deposition of final remains

This states your wishes for cremation, burial, or other disposition of your remains, like donating your body to science.

Assets and contact lists

Inventorying your assets makes your estate administrator’s job much easier since they know what it contains and where to find it. This means that your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance faster.

When making the list, include the following:

  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement and investment accounts, including stocks and bonds
  • Jewelry, watches, and antiques
  • Electronics, tools, and sporting equipment
  • Vehicles, including boats or RVs
  • Antiques and expensive furnishings
  • Furs, designer handbags, designer shoes, and the like
  • Any other items of specific value, like collectibles

A contact list includes personal contacts like friends and family and financial and business contacts like an insurance agent, financial advisor, and your Wheat Ridge estate planning lawyer. The executor of your will use it to inform our loved ones of your passing and to address financial or business matters concerning those with whom you have a financial or business relationship.

Property memos

A personal property memorandum leaves a specific property to an individual in your will, such as an engagement ring to your son or china set to a granddaughter.

And more depending on your specific needs

Your financial situation may require unusual estate planning protections. We start by getting to know you and identifying your goals, then plan for multiple eventualities.

Wheat Ridge estate planning attorneys are here to give you peace of mind

Do not let the intimidation of estate planning hold you back from formulating the estate plans your family deserves. When you are ready to start working on your estate plans, contact a reputable Wheat Ridge estate planning attorney with Colorado Estate Matters, Ltd.

Our firm proudly offers no-cost, risk-free case reviews to Wheat Ridge residents and individuals in surrounding cities. Take advantage of this opportunity when you call our office at (303) 713-9147 or fill out our online contact form and we will contact you to learn more about which estate planning elements are most important to you.

Schedule a FREE consultation with us.

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Common Probate Questions

What is probate in Colorado?
Probate in Colorado is the legal process by which a deceased person’s assets are distributed and their debts are paid under court supervision.
When is probate necessary in Colorado?
Probate is typically required when a person dies with assets solely in their name, and those assets exceed a certain value, or there’s any real estate. The threshold amount changes over time, so checking the current limits is essential.
How do I start the probate process in Colorado?
To initiate probate in Colorado, you need to determine if formal probate is required, and then file an Application or a Petition (as well as the necessary ancillary documents) with the appropriate court, depending on the circumstances.
What assets are subject to probate in Colorado?
Generally, assets that are solely owned by the deceased, such as real estate, bank accounts, and personal property, are subject to probate. Jointly owned assets with rights of survivorship, assets held in a trust, and assets with designated beneficiaries typically bypass probate.
How long does the probate process take in Colorado?
The duration of probate in Colorado can vary depending on the complexity of the estate and any disputes that may arise. Often it takes a year or more to complete.
What are the costs associated with probate in Colorado?
Probate costs in Colorado can include court fees, attorney fees, personal representative fees, and other administrative expenses. These costs can vary based on the size and complexity of the estate.
Can I avoid probate in Colorado?
Yes, there are strategies to avoid probate in Colorado, such as creating a revocable living trust, using beneficiary designations on assets like life insurance policies and retirement accounts, and jointly owning property with rights of survivorship.
What are the rights and responsibilities of a personal representative in Colorado?
The personal representative (executor or administrator) is responsible for managing the estate, paying certain debts and taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries in accordance with the law and the deceased person’s will (if one exists).
How are disputes handled in Colorado probate cases?
Disputes in Colorado probate cases can be resolved through mediation, negotiation, or litigation in court if necessary. Common disputes may involve the validity of the will, claims by creditors, or disagreements among beneficiaries.
Is estate tax a concern in Colorado probate?

Colorado does not have a state-level estate tax, but federal estate tax may apply to larger estates. It’s important to consider federal tax implications when dealing with an estate.

Is estate tax a concern in Colorado probate?

Colorado does not have a state-level estate tax, but federal estate tax may apply to larger estates. It’s important to consider federal tax implications when dealing with an estate.
 It’s essential to consult with an attorney or legal professional experienced in Colorado probate law to get accurate and up-to-date information and guidance on your probate matter.

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