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Colorado Estate Planning And Estate Settlement Legal Blog

Defending your actions and decisions as executor of an estate

There's a very good reason that most testators specifically set aside some amount of financial compensation for the person they name as executor or administrator for their estate. After all, handling an estate is stressful work, bordering on a full-time job.

In addition to obtaining records and paying bills, an executor or administrator must do their best to fulfill all of the expectations set by the deceased party in their last will. That could be a pretty difficult job to perform, especially for someone who already has a job or a family to care for.

Do you have a valid reason to contest a last will or estate plan?

Losing your loved one can be a painful shock, particularly if you weren't expecting them to pass when they did. As if you weren't struggling enough after the death of someone you deeply care for, you could also find yourself dealing with unexpected complications related to their last will or estate plan. Specifically, some people find themselves disappointed and shocked to learn that their loved one changed their last will late in life in a way that impacts the inheritance of those close to them.

If the deceased party is your parent, perhaps they disinherited you and your siblings in favor of your stepparent. It could also be possible that your family member chose to leave a large amount of money to someone outside of the family, such as the home health aide who provided care during their final months of life.

Retirement preparations should include estate planning

When people start getting close to retirement age, they may take steps to turn their retirement dreams into reality. Common planning for those nearing the end of their working career includes planning a vacation, making arrangements to sell their house and move or sitting down to consult with their financial advisor and change their investment strategy.

Too many people overlook an important area of retirement planning. If you don't already have an estate plan and last will in place, now is the time to create one. If you created one years ago, it is likely that your family situation and financial circumstances have shifted drastically since then.

The larger your estate, the more important tax planning becomes

You worked hard or invested wisely to accumulate your personal wealth over the course of your adult life. From your first savings account to the real estates that you hold as a potential future investment, the assets you acquire have value both in that they mean something to you and that they represent a financial investment.

Typically, you will have paid tax on the income that you used to acquire those assets before also paying tax on the purchase of various items that you own. For many people, it seems highly unfair that those same assets would be subject to yet another tax after they're gone.

The limits of transfer on death account designations

For many people, concern about their family's financial well-being is the primary motivator for creating an estate plan. Particularly for those who do not have a legal or biological tie to the individuals they love the most, an estate plan is necessary to protect their intentions for who receives which assets.

When someone dies without a will, the state of Colorado has a very specific manner in which it handles the intestate estate. Assets typically pass to a spouse first, then to children and then to other close family members.

Address death and medical care in an advance medical directive

The aging process has a way of removing people's autonomy regarding everything from their living situation to their own finances. Individuals who were once capable of performing complex surgeries may no longer be able to dress themselves or choose where they live.

Cognitive decline is another major issue that affects the independence and decision-making authority of older adults. As you age, issues with memory or other important mental functions could give your family the ability to challenge your right to make your own medical decisions.

Understanding palliative care in Colorado

If a loved one has been recommended for palliative care or hospice care by their doctor, it is likely that they will be moving into the later stages of an illness. This means that they need specialized treatment to help them be as comfortable as possible during this time.

It can be very difficult to come to terms with the fact that your loved one is nearing the end of their life. However, by understanding the philosophy of palliative care, you will be able to gain comfort in the knowledge that they will be cared for and comforted in the best possible way.

Have you made these plans for your children?

You might think of senior citizens when the term "estate planning," comes to mind but they aren't the only individuals who need to have their affairs in order. All adults should take the time to get things together, but it is especially important for parents of young children to have essential documentation for important decisions.

As you think about what might happen if you were to pass away, you can start to figure out some of the most important decisions you have to make. While your children are still minors and living at home, most of the things you will think about have to do with them.

How to choose the right trustee for your estate plan

There are many reasons why someone planning an estate in Colorado will want to include a trust as part of that plan. If the estate has substantial assets, a trust can protect heirs and beneficiaries from estate taxes. If there is worry about dispute within the family about the distribution of assets, moving those assets into a trust can make it harder for your family members to change your intended legacy.

Trusts can also help you provide for a special needs child, a loved one with a serious addiction or spending problem, and even a charity that you support. The benefits and overall flexibility of trusts make them a great inclusion in many people's estate plans.

Estate planning steps that help you avoid litigation

If you go through all the trouble of creating an estate plan, you obviously have a legacy you wish to leave behind. Sadly, the beneficiaries of your last will and your family members may not respect your legacy as you intend it. Instead, they may have their own expectations and wishes regarding the assets you leave behind when you die.

Dissatisfied heirs and beneficiaries can challenge your estate plan or last will in court. They can also bring a challenge against the administrator or executor for your estate. Thankfully, there are certain steps that you can take during the estate planning process that will drastically reduce the potential of litigation during probate administration.

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