Wills and Trusts Lawyers in Denver, CO
A will is a legal document that directs the distribution of your assets after death. This document allows you to clearly and precisely communicate your wishes as to how and to whom you would like your estate to be divided. Anyone 18 years and older and of sound mind can create a will. In order to have a “self-proving” will and speed up the process of probate, you need to make sure your will is in writing, signed by you, signed by two impartial witnesses, and notarized. It is important to note, you do not avoid probate in Colorado by drafting a will.
In general a will includes:
- Designating an executor or representative who is responsible for carrying out the provisions within the will
- Naming the beneficiaries as those who are inheriting the assets
- Instructions for how and when the beneficiaries will receive the assets
- Guardians for any minor children
If you die without a will, the state will decide how to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries according to Colorado laws. If you do not leave behind a will, this is known as dying intestate. The way the court will settle your estate may then not reflect what you would have wanted for your loved ones and survivors. No matter what your age or circumstances might be, retain the services of Denver last will and testament lawyers from Hulse Law Firm to help avoid this from happening.
Probate is a legal process for settling an estate, whether one has a will or not. Generally, an asset that allows a beneficiary to be designated will not have to go through probate. Those types of assets include those that are jointly owned with rights of survivorship, trusts, a 401K, brokerage accounts, and life insurance policies, so remember to always keep those beneficiaries up to date. Assets that pass through the will such as cash, real estate, and personal property must undergo the probate process. In Colorado, the process of probate is not as daunting as it is in other states.
Creating a medical power of attorney and directive (living will) is an important planning step. If you become unable to direct your own medical care because of illness, an accident, or advanced age, the right legal documents are your lifeline. A Denver living will attorney will explain all of the details, listen to your wishes, and execute those documents for you.
A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, who is called a trustee, to hold the assets of a grantor on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. To clarify, the grantor is the person(s) who creates the agreement and the beneficiary is the person(s) who receives the benefit of the assets in the trust. Trust agreements can be structured in several different ways, and will specify exactly how and when the assets pass to the beneficiaries.
Traditionally used for minimizing estate taxes, a trust also offers other benefits:
- Control of Your Assets – You control when and to whom distributions are made.
- Protect of your legacy – Can help protect your estate from your heirs’ creditors or from beneficiaries who may not be adept at money management.
- Avoid probate – A trust may allow assets to pass outside of probate possibly reducing the amount lost to court fees and taxes in the process.
- Maintain privacy – A trust allows assets to pass without public record.
Denver Estate Planning Lawyers
While no one wants to think about end of life issues, no matter what your age or circumstances, the right planning and documentation will give you great peace of mind and confidence to go ahead and live your life, rather than worrying about the end of it. Preparing a will and choosing the proper trust for an individual’s specific needs and goals, can be a complicated process. The assistance of a law firm that specializes in will and trusts in Denver, CO is highly recommended. Hulse Law Firm has the expertise to draft and execute estate planning documents to be utilized effectively in a variety of situations. Meet with us to discuss what is most appropriate for you.