What is Estate Planning?
simple steps in estate planning:
with you to determine how you want your property
to pass at death -
and who should act for you in case you
are disabled or die.
2. Preparing the appropriate legal documents
to meet your wishes.
3. Coordinating how assets are titled and
beneficiaries are des-
ignated so your estate
plan works as it is designed.
typical estate plan includes a:
trust for any minor or incomplete beneficiaries)
-General Durable Power of Attorney
-Medical Durable Power of Attorney
...is a written
document that states how you want your property
to pass at your death. You also appoint a
guardian to take care
of any minor children, a personal representative
(also known as
executor) to carry out the terms of your Will
and wrap-up all
your financial matters, and a trustee to manage
property on behalf of a minor child or someone
handle financial matters.
Financial Power of Attorney
...is used to
appoint someone to handle your finances in case
you are unavailable or incompetent. The person
acting on your
behalf is called an agent. The agent can have
broad power to
handle all of your financial matters or you
can limit an agent's
power. You want to appoint someone who you
trust to take care of your finances.
Medical Power of Attorney
...is used to
appoint someone to make health care decisions in
case you are unable to communicate those decisions
doctor (for example, if you are in a coma).
You want to appoint
someone who is very strong emotionally and
who would be able
to handle making end-of-life decisions.
A Living Will
...is a document
whereby you state that: if two doctors certify
you are terminal and comatose (or unconscious),
procedures would be stopped after a specified
period of time
(usually seven days).
It is critical that the Medical Power of Attorney
Will are coordinated so that it is clear what should
case of a conflict between the two documents.
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What are the biggest mistakes made in
is unpleasant to think about so often we simply do
nothing. After someone dies, we sometimes
hear, Mom promised
me that I could have the house, but she
never did a will. If a
valid will is not prepared, any assets in
mom's name will pass
according to Colorado law. Verbal promises
of gifts upon death
are not enforceable. If
you want to make sure the proper
people get your property, then you must
have a valid will
Hands down, this
is where many attorneys make the most money.
If you want to ensure that your family will
fight in court for years
over your estate and put lots of money in
this is the way you should go. Do-It-Yourselfers
often forget to
get witnesses, notaries, or fail to use
clear language in the will.
The same can be true with attorneys who
do not specialize in
Do yourself and your beneficiaries a favor:
Have your will
prepared by an attorney who concentrates
his or her practice
on estate planning. Your
beneficiaries will love you for it.
Not coordinating your will, joint tenancy assets and
is where the deceased mom's will provided that her
estate would be divided equally between
her son and daughter.
However, daughter was a joint tenant
on a $100,000 bank
account. At mom's death, the $100,000 joint
account passed automatically to daughter
in spite of what the
will provided. This resulted in litigation
between the son and
daughter. The son and daughter have never
results like this by working with an
attorney who specializes in estate planning.
Who needs an Estate Plan? Everyone!
|If you fail to
prepare a valid will, your property
is transferred according to the laws of Colorado at your
death. You also forfeit the right to designate a guardian for
any minor children, personal representative to carry out the
terms of your will and trustee to manage property for any minor
children. As a result, the courts will make those decisions for
you. Don't you believe it is better for you to be able to make
Patrick Plank has the answer to these and many
other estate planning questions:
is it important to have a will and estate plan?
I purchase a book, will kit, blank forms or software pro-
gram and prepare my own will?
What are the best ways to simplify
life for my loved ones in the
event of my death or disability?
happen to my children if I don't establish a plan?
the value of coordinating my plans with an accountant,
financial planner, insurance agent and others?
have a large estate, why do I need a will?
title be recorded for the real estate, bank account
and other assets that I own?
I name the beneficiaries for life insurance, IRAs,
401(k)s and company retirement plans?
I designate a power of attorney?
should I follow to assure my wishes are know to
my family and medical providers in the event
of terminal illness
I avoid probate proceedings?
to taxes, what other costs are involved in settling an
estate? How do I minimize those costs?
As a business
owner, what special factors should I consider in
my estate plan?
expensive to have a will prepared - or how much more
expensive will it be not
to have a will?
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