WILLS in COLORADO
A WILL is the most common estate planning document that all individuals should create regardless of their financial status.
You have worked hard to build your estate and a properly written Will ensures that your wishes are respected concerning its distribution.
Your Will directs where, and to whom, your estate will go after your death. If you die intestate (without a Will), your estate will be distributed according to the laws of the State of Colorado. This statutorily mandated distribution may not be in accordance with your wishes.
It is just as important for younger adults as it is for older individuals.
A well-prepared Will and Trust or any other estate planning document saves tax, court and attorney costs.
Without careful estate planning, your beneficiaries may not receive their intended inheritance. This is especially true for individuals who are not part of a “typical” nuclear family.
Estate planning can also protect assets in the event that you require long-term care.
Can I save taxes by using a Will?
A properly prepared WILL may avoid or lessen estate taxes. Not all estates will have estate taxes, and it is a common misunderstanding that avoiding probate saves estate taxes. Probate is the process for passing the title of assets. The requirements for filing federal and Colorado Estate tax returns are based on the total value of the assets at the time of death.
Can I change my Will?
A Will may be amended or revoked at any time, provided you are mentally competent and not inappropriately influenced by another person. You should never write directly on your original Will, but instead you should execute a codicil or an entirely new Will. Writing in new clauses or scratching out portions of your Will, creates uncertainty as to your intent and will likely result in increased court involvement and possible litigation.
Many people try to avoid probate and the need for a Will by holding their property jointly with their children. These efforts may be defeated by a long-term illness of the parent thus creating an unequal distribution of the parent’s estate.
The death of a child can cause similar inequities. Holding one’s property in jointly held accounts has too many unforeseen risks. A Will is a much simpler and safer means of protecting one’s wishes regarding the distribution of assets.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
For many people, a Durable Power of Attorney (POA) is the most important estate planning instrument available. A POA allows the person you appoint, your “attorney-in-fact” to act in your stead for financial purposes as soon as it is executed. It is particularly useful, when, and if, you become incapacitated.
HEALTH CARE PROXY/LIVING WILL
Any complete estate planning document should include a medical directive. A Health Care Proxy allows you to designate another individual to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
A Living Will is a document which expresses your medical instructions. A more extensive medical directive may include the terms of a Living Will, but also provide instructions if you are in a less severe state of health but are still unable to direct your health care decisions yourself.
A Trust is a legal document through which one person or an institution called a “trustee”, holds legal title to the property held for another person called a “beneficiary”.
- avoids probate,
- immediate transfer to beneficiaries,
- may result in tax advantages;
- property protection from creditors;
- and many others depending on your case.
You may direct how and when a devisee receives their inheritance in a trust. A Trust established under a Will is called a testamentary trust, and may provide significant protection for the beneficiary.
Here at Easy Legal we are striving to keep things Easy for you and assist you in evaluating the many facets of your personal situation. Through careful consideration of your needs and goals, it is possible to build a plan that protects your family’s interests now and far into the future.