Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not a task reserved only for the wealthy or elderly, nor is a once-and-done project. In fact, it is recommended that all adults who are 18 years old or older create an estate plan and then review and update it both on a regular basis and in conjunction with major life events, like marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or the death of a loved one.
While the term “estate plan” might sound fancy or even intimidating, it’s simply an inclusive term used when talking about a collection of documents, like wills and power of attorney documents, that provides instructions on things like what to do with your assets when you die and instructions for your health care should you become disabled or incapacitated.
Robinson & Henry’s Colorado Springs estate planning attorney, Mike Hanchett, works with individuals from Colorado Springs and other Colorado communities to help draft and update estate plan documents, ensuring that your plan takes into account state and federal laws and offers the best protection for you and your family. Read his biography here.
A well-done estate plan offers both peace of mind for you that your loved ones will be provided for in your absence and that your life’s legacy will endure according to your wishes. And that’s not all. It can also protect your estate from creditors and debtors, minimize inheritance taxes and keep your finances out of probate and off public record.
Whatever stage of life you’re in, whether you’re just venturing out into adulthood, recently got married, are getting divorced or remarried, are starting a business, getting ready to retire or grieving the loss of a loved one, our estate planning team is here to help.
Tips & Tools for your Colorado Estate Plan
#1. Mistakes to avoid when creating your Colorado estate plan.
Not sure where to start with creating your estate plan? Start by learning what not to do. This post covers mistakes to avoid when creating your estate plan, like relying on a holographic will and failing to talk to your loved ones about your wishes.
#2. Understanding the difference between guardianship and conservatorship in Colorado.
Guardians and conservators come into play both in cases where both parents of a minor child are deceased, and in cases where an adult becomes incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for himself/herself, whether temporarily or permanently. It’s important to understand the difference between these two roles, and how they are appointed, when creating your estate plan or if you would like to serve in one of these roles for a loved one. Click here to read more about this topic.
#3. What you need to know about contesting a will in Colorado.
What happens if a family member dies without a will? Or when the deceased’s will is outdated or wasn’t prepared correctly? Unfortunately, these circumstances arise and can result in familial disputes and the desire to contest the deceased’s will. If you’re considering contesting a loved one’s will, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the common grounds for contesting a will in Colorado. While you’ll want to hire an attorney to help with your case, you can get started by first reading this guide on the subject.
#4. How to decide if a will or trust is right for you.
Wills and trusts are important estate planning tools that can be used to dictate how you’d like your estate to be run or divided in the event that you are incapacitated or when you pass away. However, they both carry out that goal very differently. Read more about the differences between wills and trusts here.
#5. What you need to know about estate planning if you have minor children.
The only thing more difficult to think about than not being here to see your child(ren) grow up, is thinking about them not being well cared for in your absence. For many parents, appointing a guardian for their minor child(ren) who will care for them in the event both parents die is the chief reason to create an estate plan. In addition to naming a guardian, though, there are other decisions parents of minor children should make and document in their estate plan to further ensure the protection of their children. Click here to read more.
#6. What you need to know about estate planning if you’re getting a divorce.
Updating your estate plan might be the last thing you feel like doing or the farthest thing from your mind if you’re getting a divorce, but, as is usually the case during a major life event, this is a time when updating your will, trust and powers of attorney documents is absolutely critical. Click here to read answers to common questions about divorce and estate planning, including how Colorado law impacts your estate plan following a divorce decree.
#7. What you need to know about estate planning if you’re getting remarried.
Remarriages are wonderful opportunities for a second chance at happiness. As such, they deserve an updated estate plan, to provide and care for your new spouse (and any new children) and make sure your children from your previous marriage aren’t left behind. Read more here on how remarriages and blended families can benefit from having an updated estate plan.
#8. Why you should review and update your estate plan before going on vacation.
The flights are booked, you’ve scouted the best beaches and the countdown is on: you’re ready to go! But before you head out of town, you should meet with your estate planning attorney to review and, if necessary, update your estate plan. And if you don’t yet have an estate plan, now is the time to create one. Learn more here about the key documents you should have in place before you head out of town.
#9. How a good estate plan can protect your small business.
Small-business owners work hard to create their professional legacy. A good owner knows that by utilizing estate planning tools they can minimize estate tax liability, ensure a smooth transition of power, defend against creditors and debtors, and protect your family and assets from going to probate court. Read more about this topic here.
Meet our Colorado Springs estate planning attorney
Meet Michael Hanchett, Robinson & Henry’s lead estate planning and probate attorney. He helps Colorado Springs business owners, families and individuals plan for the future by drafting powers of attorney, last wills and testaments, trusts and advance directives. Schedule a free consultation with Mike by calling 303-688-0944.