Here is some help with Estate Plans in Colorado. An Estate Plan is an orderly arrangement prepared during lifetime to provide for the conservation and disposition of one's property/assets.
An Effective Estate Plan includes:
Essential Parts of an Estate Plan
Will (or Trust, see below)
This document will specify the disposition of your assets upon death and appoint a Personal Representative (or Executor) to handle the Estate after death.
Power of Attorney
This document allows you to appoint someone you trust to make important medical or financial decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to make the decisions yourself.
Also known as an Advance Directive for Medical/Surgical treatment, this document allows you to make decisions about treatment in the event that you have an incurable or irreversible condition which would require life sustaining procedures that would only serve to postpone the moment of death. This document comes into effect only if you are unable to speak for yourself and make your wishes known. There are many specific choices to be made by you in this document.
Other Estate Planning
A Trust is not necessary for everyone. The following are reasons a Trust may be used:
Marital agreements (also known as Pre-nuptial or Post-nuptial Agreements) are not for everyone. They are used for some of the following reasons:
Probate in Colorado, put simply, is the legal process in which the Estate (or property) of the decedent (the person who has passed away) is administered. It is the name of the Court procedure used to deal with assets of a deceased person.
Probate generally includes:
Colorado Probate varies, here are some of the terms that you might hear:
This process mainly involves filing forms and giving notice. Informal probate is streamlined with the Personal Representative (Executor) doing most of the work and very little court filings are needed. The various forms and requirements are now e-filed with the court. An attorney will lead the Personal Representative (Executor) in the process and make sure that all the proper forms are filed and that creditors are notified within the timeline specified by the statutes. Having an attorney oversee the process can prevent future problems with the Court, Creditors, the IRS or among Beneficiaries who question the Personal Representative.
Formal probate has more Court involvement and requires hearings and notice requirements. Various situations can require Formal Probate or make it the better choice. A common use of Formal Probate is when the Will's validity needs to be established. Due to the court hearings and more attorney involvement, the cost of Formal Probate is usually more expensive than Informal Probate.
Property can be transferred outside of Probate, and is not subject to the Will. This will depend on how property is held. Property can be transferred avoiding Probate through the following means:
When properly prepared and recorded, Beneficiary Deeds can avoid Probate for Real Estate (homes, rentals, etc.). This deed transfers ownership upon the death and can be revoked by a recorded document at any time. In the right situation, this is a great planning device. It does not give ownership or rights to the beneficiary during your life.
The Information on this page is not legal advice.