Fundamental Estate Planning in Denver, CO
Estate planning is for everyone, not just the wealthy or the aging. One of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones is to establish an estate plan. A well-designed plan provides for loved ones, including minor children or aging parents; plans for incapacity or disability; avoids or simplifies probate or estate administration at death; reduces or avoids estate taxes; memorializes personal values and provides for charitable organizations and causes that are important to you.
We meet with individuals and families to review your personal and financial situation, including your needs, concerns, hopes and goals, and explain the options available to you based on your unique situation. Your personalized plan may include wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, or a combination of these, depending on your individual needs and goals. Once your estate plan is in place, you will enjoy peace of mind knowing you have provided for yourself and your loved ones in case an unexpected crisis occurs.
Basic Estate Planning Components:
Your will sets forth the distribution of your property and assets after you pass away, names a personal representative (also known as administrator or executor) to carry out the distributions set forth, nominates a guardian of your young children, and can name a trustee to manage your assets for either your surviving spouse or minor children. Wills can also contain estate tax planning and other mechanisms appropriate for your unique financial and familial circumstances. A will requires probate if you own real estate or have other assets totalling more than $64,000.
General/Financial Power of Attorney:
A power of attorney is a document that gives a person of your choosing the legal authority to make financial decisions on your behalf up until the time of your death. This is a powerful and important estate planning tool because if you become incapacitated without this document, your family or loved ones may have to go to court to have a guardian or conservator appointed. This proceeding is public, sometimes adversarial, and requires a judge’s determination of who should make decisions for you.
Medical Durable Power of Attorney:
This document allows you to appoint someone to make decisions concerning your health care in the event you become unable to communicate your own wishes.
Living Will (also known as an Advanced Directive):
A living will memorializes your end-of-life choices regarding life support, hydration, nutrition and more.
There are many different kinds of trusts, though the most common trust used in estate planning is the revocable or living trust. This type of trust creates an agreement between you (the trust-maker or grantor), your Trustee (typically you are the trustee during your lifetime) and your beneficiaries. Your trust can “own” assets and be a management vehicle for such assets. The trust agreement contains several sets of instructions that govern how trust-owned assets will be handled: first, how assets are handled during your health, second, how assets are managed during your incapacity and third, how your assets are managed and for whom they are managed for upon your death. Trusts are often used if you want to avoid probate and maintain privacy for you and your beneficiaries.
A will can be used to nominate a guardian for your minor children. There are, however, many other estate planning considerations for young families, including temporary guardians (documents used for temporary care until a court can review your nomination), the handling of inheritance, and more.
A will and trust can also set forth instructions for the care and custody of your pet animals. Estate planning can also set forth monetary gifts or trusts to care for your pets.
Illness, incapacitation, and death are never easy topics to think about, but it’s important to do so now in order to ensure that your family is taken care of, your assets are appropriately distributed, your wealth is protected, and your family is spared any costly administrative burdens and unneeded stress that occurs without proper planning. When you contact the Denver estate planning attorneys at Legacy Law Partners, PLLC, we will help you create an estate plan that provides peace of mind in the present by carefully considering the future.