Posted by: Vernon Ready
When do you need an attorney? When you’re in trouble with the law? When you want to get a divorce? Is that it?
Even if you never enter a courtroom in your life, you may still want to keep a lawyer’s number in your phone: an estate planning lawyer, that is. Estate planning attorneys can help you and your loved ones manage your finances throughout your life and even after it ends.
Here are a few reasons you might want to give an estate planning attorney a call:
Drafting a Will. Have you written a will yet? It’s not the most fun document to write, but having a will after you pass away will save your loved ones a whole lot of time, money, and trouble. Colorado law has specific rules about how wills must be written and executed, so it is important to consult with an estate planning or elder law attorney to make sure your will is going to be valid and followed after your death.
Changing Your Will. The will you write at 40 may not reflect the last wishes you hold at 70. After all, your grandchildren might not even be born yet!
Moreover, you may wish to make adjustments to your will as your family grows or your financial situation changes. An estate planning attorney can help you to legally edit your original plan to account for every milestone or pitfall in your life.
Naming a Guardian or Power of Attorney. Wills go into effect after your death, but there are other documents to consider writing that will impact your finances and decisions while you are still alive. For example, a power of attorney allows you to choose a person who will make financial or health decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated.
You never know what life has in store for you in the future – especially toward the end of your life. Talk to your attorney about having a well-rounded estate plan and all the proper documents to care for you in any situation.
Transferring Assets to Trusts. You do not have to transfer and divide your assets exclusively through a will. In fact, it may be easier for your loved ones if you don’t. Dividing your estate through a will requires probate, which can be a lengthy process depending on the size of or complications within your estate.
A smart, purposeful estate plan may help your family avoid probate altogether. One way to do this is to begin putting your assets into trusts that can be passed on to your children, spouse, and so on without going through probate. Certain trusts can even help you to plan for Medicaid eligibility. Your attorney will be able to offer other alternative suggestions to make the division of your assets go as smoothly as possible.
Managing Your Business. To small business owners, their business is their baby, and when they pass or can no longer handle day-to-day operations and decisions, they want to make sure it is being cared for properly.
Not only will an estate planning attorney be able to help you structure your business appropriately, but he or she can also help you transfer the business to the right person or people when the time comes.
Building a Relationship for the Future. For many people, talking about last wishes and dividing your assets can be awkward or uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s easier to have these discussions with a formal third party.
These conversations, however, may have a profound effect on how your estate is divided after your death. If your executor or your loved ones are unsure of how they can properly execute your last wishes, your estate planning attorney may be a great resource. Make sure your spouse, children, or executor has the name and contact information of your attorney.
As we mentioned before, dividing the property left in wills and undergoing probate is not always a simple process. If a beneficiary feels that the will in question is not being executed properly, they can fight it, making matters tough for your other family members and loved ones.
That is why it is so important to start working on your estate plan early and continually return to it as necessary throughout your life. Additionally, a lot of resentment, frustration, and confusion can be avoided if you simply explain your decisions to loved ones before passing away. Contact a Colorado estate planning attorney to begin building and managing your estate plan today.
About the Author:
Vernon Ready is an award-winning Colorado lawyer with an in-depth understanding of all areas of family law, estate planning, and personal injury. His energetic and aggressive advocacy approach allow him to successfully navigate complex cases, including high asset divorce and complicated custody issues. During his time at the University of Colorado Law School, Ready won numerous awards for his trial advocacy skills. Since being admitted to practice in 2009, Ready has become well-known throughout Denver and the state for the passionate defense of his clients and his unparalleled understanding of the law.