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 you would like your estate to be divided. Anyone 18 years or older and of sound mind can create a will. In order to have a “self-proving” will and speed up the process of probate, 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.
A will includes:
- Designating an executor to carry out 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
- Naming guardians for any minor children
If you die without a will, the state will decide how to distribute your assets according to Colorado laws and this is known as dying intestate. The way the court will settle your estate may not be what you would have wanted for your loved ones and survivors. No matter what your age or circumstances, retain the services of Littleton last will and testament lawyers from Hulse Law Firm to keep 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. Remember to always keep beneficiaries up to date. Assets that pass through the will such as cash, real estate, and personal property must undergo the probate process.
Creating a medical power of attorney and directive (living will) is important. If you become unable to direct your own medical care because of illness, an accident, or advanced age, the right legal documents are critical. A Littleton living will attorney will explain all of the details, listen to your wishes, and execute appropriate 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. 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 offers other benefits:
- You control when and to whom distributions are made.
- Helps protect your estate from your heirs’ creditors or from beneficiaries who may not be adept at money management.
- Assets may pass outside of probate possibly reducing the amount lost to court fees and taxes.
- Assets pass without public record.
Littleton Estate Planning Lawyers
While no one wants to think about end of life issues, 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 specializing in wills and trusts in Littleton, 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.