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We have office locations in Arvada, Broomfield, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins, Lakewood and Denver.
When facing a difficult estate planning or estate settlement challenge, you need an experienced law firm on your side. Since 1974, our attorneys have helped over 80,000 families – including bankers, plumbers, senators, attorneys, teachers, judges, police officers and business owners – prepare for the future by assisting them with their wills, trusts, powers of attorney and, when necessary, guardianships, conservatorships and estate settlements.
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To paraphrase a popular quote from Benjamin Franklin, the only things certain in this world are death and taxes ― but not often with the federal estate tax.
For instance, smaller estates are typically not subject to any federal estate taxes. In fact, as per the new tax laws that went into place on January 1, 2018, the estate tax exemption is $11.2 million ― meaning a person can leave his or her heirs up to $11.2 million and pay no estate taxes at all. But, if the estate is larger than $11.2 million for an individual or $22.4 million for a married couple, the excess may be subject to a 40% tax.
Given how estate taxes can eviscerate a large estate, you may wonder if there is any way to avoid paying these taxes. The answer is yes, there is.
- A will is an excellent place to name the guardians of your minor children should you pass away and leave them orphaned. If this important decision is left up to chance, there is no guarantee that your children will wind up with your preferred choice for guardians ― not to mention that it often results in heated family disputes after you are gone.
- A will does not mean your estate will avoid probate. In fact, a will has to be submitted to a probate court, meaning it is essentially a ticket to probate.
- A will actually has no legal authority until after a person dies. This means a will cannot help manage a person’s affairs if he or she is alive, but otherwise incapacitated, either by injury or illness. In situations like this, durable powers of attorney and health care directives may be helpful.
That can be a challenge at certain times with certain parents. Most parents are generally okay with passing the baton to others, but from time to time, we will encounter parents who are resistant; they don’t want to give up control. They are afraid if they do that, people will steal their money, even family members, and that family members will make bad healthcare and financial decisions. We run into that occasionally, but most of the time, the folks we work with are fine with doing powers of attorney.
Important to note: If you or a loved one ever plan to apply for Medicaid now or later, the financial power of attorney must have very special gifting language in it. Most don’t. Ours do. Take care here.
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The Hughes Law Firm has been helping Colorado families plan for the future for more than 40 years. While we have pretty much seen it all when it comes to estate planning, probate and estate settlement, we know that every one of our clients is unique. We think we are, too. Here’s why:
- We offer free, no-obligation seminars on a year-round basis in many locations around the state. Find out when we will be in your area, and register today.
- Where most law firms divide their resources among divorces, bankruptcies, criminal cases, DUIs, corporate law and car wreck lawsuits ― dabbling in wills and trusts only occasionally ― we focus our entire efforts on only two areas of law: estate planning and estate settlements.
We strive to give our clients the best of all possible worlds: the experience of the past, the best of today and continued solutions into the future.