Estate Planning Lawyer Fort Collins, CO
If you want to establish an estate plan, you should consult an estate planning lawyer in Fort Collins, CO, where William B. Moore, Attorney at Law, is located. Having a proper estate plan can ensure your final wishes are carried out and that your family is taken care of after you’re gone. Here are some tips to have a successful plan.
Select the Right Executor
The executor is the person who will carry out the terms of your will after you’re gone. He or she will be responsible for paying your debts and taxes and distributing assets to proper heirs. Since this role is a big responsibility, you shouldn’t appoint just anyone. An executor should be trustworthy, impartial, financially savvy, and organized. If you can’t find a family member or friend to take on the role, you can appoint a lawyer.
Consider Avoiding Probate
Probate is the process by which a will is proved valid in court. Unfortunately, probate can be costly and lengthy for your family members. It can also make your financial information open to the public. That’s why you should talk to your Fort Collins, Colorado estate planning lawyer about avoiding the process altogether. Your lawyer, for example, may recommend establishing a living trust to avoid probate.
Choose a Guardian
If you have minor children, you should definitely designate a guardian in your estate plan. If you should die unexpectedly, your children will be taken care of by someone you trust. Ideally, the guardian you select should share your values, be financially stable, and be physically able to parent. Before you name a guardian in your estate planning documents, ask that person if he or she is willing to take on the role.
Don’t Forget About Your Smaller Possessions
When establishing your estate plan, you’ll want to consider more than just your big assets, like your home and retirement account. Just because some of your belongings don’t have high monetary value, doesn’t mean they’re not important. For example, photo albums and family heirlooms may have significant sentimental value. Your estate planning lawyer in Fort Collins, CO may suggest specifying who you would like to receive these items.
Make Necessary Updates to Your Estate Plan
Many people assume that once they create an estate plan, they never have to look at it again. However, it’s necessary for most people to update their estate plans several times in their lifetime. When you go through a big life change, such as the birth of a child or divorce, you should revisit your estate plan.
Creating a Revocable Living Trust
When you are interested in creating a revocable living trust, you probably want to know more about the pros and cons. Is this something you can create as your only estate planning documents or would it work best with other estate planning documents? What will it do for your loved ones after you pass away? If you are considering a revocable living trust, do not hesitate any longer to reach out to our office to see how we can help you.
What is the first thing I will need to do?
The first thing you will need to do is determine who you want your trustee to be. While you can appoint someone else as your trustee, many people choose to name themselves as their first trustee so that they can remain in control of their trust and estate. During the life of the trust, you are able to interact with it, pay bills with it, and use what is in it. However, upon your death, a successor trustee will take over and use your trust to pay off the remaining bills and distribute what you have to the people you named in your trust.
What if I forget to put something in my trust?
Even the most detail-oriented people may accidentally leave something out of their trust. The idea of this can be scary because things that are not written into a trust may be subject to the probate process upon death. However, many estate planning lawyers will work with you to create what is known as a “pour-over will.” This will can essentially grab anything else that you did not name in your trust and move it to your trust. This can give many people peace of mind when they are not sure if they left something out.
Are trusts complicated?
Trusts can be fairly complicated since you will need to have a good deal of information regarding your estate and assets. If you want specific things to happen after you pass away or you want certain people to receive certain items, these will all need to be specified in your trust. Your lawyer can help you understand the process and prepare you for what is needed to create a living trust.
Naming someone you can rely on as your successor trustee is a great step in ensuring your estate will be managed properly and can put your mind at ease if you pass away or become incapacitated. Your lawyer can help you understand what kind of person you would want to name as your successor trustee.
How Arbitration, Mediation, and Collaborative Divorce Different?
Arbitration, mediation, and collaborative divorce are all alternative dispute resolution options available to you and your spouse in lieu of divorce litigation. On the surface, they may seem very similar to one another. A divorce lawyer in Bridgeport, CT, at Willinger, Willinger & Bucci, PC can explain the differences to you and help you decide which is most appropriate for your situation. Here is an overview of each.
Arbitration is a process that looks very similar to litigation. It is less formal than court proceedings but still has an impartial third party called an arbitrator who listens to both sides and renders a decision. This is similar to the role a judge plays in court. Arbitration gives you more control over the process than litigation would because you can schedule your own time and choose your own arbitrator. Arbitration does not become a part of the public record, offering you more privacy, and you usually get a decision more quickly.
Collaborative divorce is less concerned about provisions of the law and more focused on a process of problem-solving in which all parties strive for what is best for all members of the family. It is the most recent process and is designed to be the least adversarial. Unlike arbitration, there is no third party who presides over collaborative divorce and renders a decision. You and your spouse each hire your own divorce lawyer in Bridgeport, CT, and work together to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement.
During the collaborative process, you may also work with other professionals, such as financial planners, psychologists, and divorce coaches. All parties sign an agreement committing to the collaborative process. You and your spouse pledge to seek out new representation if the process fails.
Mediation has some aspects in common with both arbitration and collaborative divorce. Like collaborative divorce, it is less formal, less adversarial, and more concerned with coming to an agreement acceptable to all parties than with the provisions of law. On the other hand, mediation is similar to arbitration in that an objective third party proceeds over each. However, unlike an arbitrator, a mediator does not have decision-making power. Rather than rendering a judgment, as an arbitrator does, the role of a mediator is to facilitate discussion between you and your spouse and keep it on track so that you can reach your own agreement.
Most people are more satisfied with the outcomes of divorces using alternative dispute resolution, perhaps because they have more say in the process. A divorce lawyer in Bridgeport, CT, from Willinger, Willinger & Bucci can help you with the process no matter which method you choose.
4 Things You Need To Know About Living Trusts
Living trusts can be a useful estate planning vehicle, especially if you want to shield assets from going through probate after you die. However, there are some important things you should understand about how these trusts work. It’s a good idea to consult with an estate planning lawyer in Fort Collins, CO. In the meantime, keep reading to find out four important features of living trusts.
Trusts and Wills Are Not the Same
When it comes to estate planning, wills and living trusts are two totally different things. Simply put, a will is a legal document with instructions for distributing your assets after you’re gone. A living will, however, is a written agreement that authorizes another party to manage assets according to your wishes. You must place those assets in the trust. If you hear the word “revocable” used in conjunction with a trust, that means the trust can still be dissolved at any time.
Living Trusts Are Not Living Wills
As an experienced estate planning lawyer in Fort Collins, CO, can tell you, a living trust is not the same thing as a living will. While they’re both legal documents, the living trust deals with financial matters only. On the other hand, a living will contains certain advance directives for your medical care — whether you consent to be put on a ventilator, be given CPR and so forth.
Living Trusts Can Avoid Probate
A living trust will not usually go through probate thanks to one key feature — the trust maker does not technically own the property placed in the trust. The trust itself remains after the trust maker, or grantor, has passed away. Since ownership does not need to be transferred from the deceased individual, it does not typically need to go through the probate process. It’s up to the trustee to pay any debts and distribute assets from the trust.
You May Need Both a Will and a Trust
Living trusts are incredibly useful estate planning tools, but they can’t take care of everything. You cannot use a trust to assign guardians for your minor children: You need a will to do that. You may also have assets that shouldn’t be included in a trust — retirement accounts, and health savings accounts, life insurance and motor vehicles, for instance.
There are many more details to establishing a living trust. You may benefit from professional advice from an estate planning lawyer in Fort Collins, CO.
If you need assistance with your estate plan, schedule a free consultation with William B. Moore, an estate planning lawyer in Fort Collins, CO; we are happy to offer consultations during off-hours and by Zoom to accommodate your busy schedule.
Estate Planning Lawyer Fort Collins, CO
Estate planning is a crucial component of preparing for your future and that is why many people turn to an estate planning lawyer in Fort Collins, CO for help. The legal documents are going to address every aspect of your end-of-life requests and a lawyer can help you get through them all. You don’t have to wonder if you did everything right and risk forgetting an important document if you work with a quality lawyer.
To ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible you should have a lawyer that is highly skilled, competent, and trustworthy. However, you may not know what to look for in a lawyer if this is your first time working with one. Below are some qualities that every good estate planning lawyer should have.
Focuses on Estate Planning
Estate planning is a complicated task that requires a range of skills and knowledge. It is a niche in the law world and not everyone that claims they have estate planning experience does. Many lawyers will add estate planning in what they can do, but often just plug it into automated software that doesn’t cover all the ins and outs.
Think of it this way, you wouldn’t want your general practitioner to perform heart surgery on you, so why trust a lawyer with little to no experience in estate planning handle your end-of-life plan?
Has Relevant Skills
Estate planning covers a large range of topics like tax preparation, Medicare planning, will development, property law, disability arrangements, and a slew of other things. A good lawyer is going to have adequate knowledge to guide you through every aspect of your estate plan. If you have complex needs they are going to be able to help you through it all.
Always ask about what your lawyer is skilled in, and if they aren’t skilled in one are ask who they will talk to to make sure everything is done correctly.
Works Quickly and Efficiently
Time is essential when creating an estate plan. This is even more true if you are nearing the end of your life and need to update your plan quickly. Most dedicated and good lawyers are going to have your first draft within the first few weeks and then finalized in a month or less.
When you start looking for an estate lawyer, be sure to ask how long it will take to prepare your plan. If they don’t give you a reasonable time then it is safe to say you should find another lawyer. If they can’t give you a reasonable time then it is likely they have too many clients and can’t dedicate enough time to another.
Keeps in Touch Regularly
The day you get your final copies of your plan isn’t the last time you should hear from your lawyer. A good lawyer is going to reach out to their clients several years down the road to check in and reassess everything. They can also inform their clients of any legislation changes that might affect their plans.
Your lawyer is a valuable role in your life from when you hire them to the day your death happens. A good lawyer will keep in touch to make sure that everything in your plan happens the way you want it to.
If you need assistance with your estate plan, schedule a free consultation with William B. Moore, an estate planning lawyer in Fort Collins, CO.
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