In this blog, our legal team has attempted to explain many of the terms used in Estate Planning, as well as why it is critical to consider these issues early on and to discuss them with your loved ones. Here are some of the top 5 things you should know for purposes of planning your Will for the New Year, with the questions and answers.
- Should I Create an Estate Plan?
Having an estate plan is not required for everyone, but having a will is essential for most. Wills and estate planning are important, regardless of your financial standing, as they include crucial information regarding your wishes, such as who will be designated as a guardian for your minor children, and how your assets will be handled at your passing.
- If I pass away without a will, what happens to my estate? Will the government take my money?
If you do not have a Will in place when you die, your Estate will still not necessarily be taken over by the government. Probate officials are responsible for determining your heirs and ensuring that your assets remain within your family, more often than not. Wills and Estate Planning are an important part of protecting your hard-earned money, your family heirlooms, and making sure that they go proper beneficiaries.
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a trust versus adding names as joint owners, paying on death, or leaving assets in a will?
When it comes to wills and estate planning in Colorado, there are several options available. Joint ownership, payable on death, and leaving assets in a will are all viable strategies. Each of these has its own pros and cons. Joint ownership allows for the financial management of an estate without the need for probate. However, it requires a power of attorney to be established, in order to do so. On the other hand, leaving assets in a will requires the opening of a probate matter in the local county. A trust is another option that does not require probate and is managed by a trustee. Ultimately, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons of each option before making a decision.
- If assets are held in multiple states, does an estate plan need to be drafted differently?
When it comes to Wills and Estate Planning, many individuals have assets located in multiple states. It is important to take into account the legal ramifications of holding assets in multiple locations when formulating an estate plan. In Colorado, a recommended approach is to place all assets from other states into Colorado Limited Liability Companies (LLCs). This can help to avoid having to open probate in other states.
- Would it be advantageous or even essential to enlist the services of a lawyer to create estate planning documents instead of doing it yourself through an online program?
Having an attorney assist in the preparation of wills and estate planning documents is highly recommended. With the help of a lawyer, you can ensure that your wishes are clearly defined, and that your loved ones are taken care of when you pass away. An attorney can provide insight on the various strategies that may be best suited for your particular situation and make it easier to discuss sensitive topics such as finances, medical decisions, and death with your family. Through transparent dialogue, families can find comfort in knowing how to honor the deceased and feel relieved that their wishes have been made clear.
So, it is important to understand that taking the time to plan your Will and Estate Plan now can save your loved ones from difficult decisions and possible challenges in the future. If you have any questions or need assistance in creating a Will, please don’t hesitate to call us.