Colorado Springs Estate Planning Attorneys
Helping Families Prepare for the Future
Estate planning is a vital process for people from all walks of life. It is never a bad time to start planning for the future. By creating a comprehensive estate plan – which may include a will, trusts, powers of attorney, and many other beneficial documents – you can provide for your loved ones and establish your legacy on your own terms. Our Colorado Springs estate planning lawyers can help you navigate the process and take advantage of all the estate planning tools at your disposal.
When to Create or Modify Your Estate Plan
Many people think they are too young to benefit from an estate plan, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. No matter your age or the size of your estate, estate planning services can be a wise investment.
We recommend creating or updating your estate plan:
- To ensure that your children will be cared for by those you deem most qualified in your absence
- To make sure that your surviving spouse/partner will be adequately provided for
- To name qualified people to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated
- To document your wishes regarding end-of-life care
- To reduce the likelihood of family squabbles after your death
You should consider creating, updating, or modifying your estate plan if you meet any of the following conditions.
Your Current Estate Plan Is Old, Outdated, or Is from Another State
Consider all the changes that have happened in your life and in the law within the last 3 to 15 years. Your estate plan should be reviewed and potentially updated every couple of years. It should also be updated to reflect the laws of the state where you currently live. If you have moved from another state, there may need to be substantial changes to ensure an effective and legally enforceable plan.
You Do Not Currently Have a Plan in Place
If you don’t have a will or a trust, it is up to the state of Colorado to decide how your property will be distributed upon your death. However, this one-size-fits-all plan likely doesn’t really work for you and your loved ones. This may subject your estate to litigation when passing property onto your loved ones.
You Only Have a Simple Will Currently in Place
It is important to create an estate plan that works for your individual situation and your unique family. The one-size-fits-all mentality is typically not appropriate for every person. Every estate plan should make sure major problems—like unnecessary estate taxes and, worst of all, family discord—are eliminated.
You Have Minor Children or Beneficiaries
Unless the court appoints a conservator, minors are unable to inherit money in Colorado. When the court appoints a conservator, it can significantly reduce the minor’s inheritance. Additionally, the funds that the minor receives are likely to be tied up for a long time. If the court appoints a conservator, it is likely that a guardian will also need to be appointed by the court. Our Colorado Springs estate planning lawyers can help with all issues related to minors during any probate proceeding.
You Have Children from a Previous Marriage
When parents have children from a previous marriage, one parent’s children may get left out, or conflict may arise between the stepchildren, between the children, or between the parents. We can help address these important and complex situations to reduce conflict.
Your Children Are Not Responsible or Are Married to Someone Who Is Not Responsible
Do you have inheritance protection for a beneficiary or child who may be subjected to a spendthrift spouse, divorce, lawsuits, creditors, or bankruptcy? Do you have a beneficiary or child who has a problem with impulse control? If so, we can help you control and minimize this risk through proper planning. The average inheritance is spent within 17 months of receipt.
You Own Rental Property or Are Self-Employed
If you are self-employed or have rental property, it is important to know that there can be a significant delay before the court appoints a personal representative who has the authority to care for your business or rental property in your absence. Essentially, without planning, there will be a period of time when your rental property and/or business has to run itself.
You or a Loved One Are Terminally Ill or Have Declining Health
If you become terminally ill or incapacitated, you likely will not be able to make decisions for yourself unless you plan ahead. If you have not determined who can make decisions for you, decided what decisions they can make for you, and when they can make the decisions for you, you are again relying on the court to make those choices for you – and they may not make the decisions you’d want.
You Have Not Considered Tax Matters in Your Estate Planning
The amount you can inherit free of taxes is $11.4 million for 2019. Retirement accounts (IRAs, 401(k)s, etc.) are rarely coordinated with estate plans, which could result in significant tax problems. Therefore, it is imperative that a plan is created to ensure that tax benefits are not wasted. We can help you maximize your estate tax savings — let us guide you on the path toward preserving your family’s future.
You Own Joint Tenancy Property
Many problems can arise with property ownership in joint tenancy. The property may become part of a court process if one joint owner becomes mentally disabled. You may not be able to sell, transfer, or rent the property. Anyone who ends up with the property after the second-to-last joint owner passes away can face huge tax liabilities. Joint tenancy may expose joint property to unintended creditors. Joint ownership may also cause a will to fail in its distribution.
Do you have questions about the estate planning process? Seek guidance from our Colorado Springs estate planning attorneys at the Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C. Contact us now.