Want to protect your assets from liability? Want to make sure your family inheritance is protected and properly managed? Want to avoid unnecessary taxes on your wealth? At Springs Law Group, our experienced Colorado Springs attorneys work closely with you to write a comprehensive, complete, and current estate plan.
When you choose Springs Law Group, you have an attorney partner for life. Estate plans, such as wills and trusts, should be reviewed any time there is a significant change in your life. This could be a death in the family, divorce, substantial change in wealth, and so forth.
No estate plan is too small or too big. It’s best to start early. Yes, there is a cost, but you risk losing much more if your estate plan is not in top order. Give us a call at Springs Law group to schedule your first 30-minute consultation. There is no obligation or cost.
Do You Need Estate Planning?
You might assume you don’t need an estate plan unless you are wealthy or have lots of property. If so, you are wrong. Almost everyone has an estate—even you. In regards to estate planning, don’t think of an estate as a lavish home and grounds. An estate is anything and everything you own. For example, the following are all part of your estate:
- Personal possessions
- Your home
- Other real estate
- Savings and checking accounts
- Life insurance
When Should You Start Estate Planning?
Almost 2.5 million Americans pass away each year. Many of these individuals die without signing even the most basic of estate planning documents. Therefore, if you own anything, you should have an estate plan in place today—unless you want the state to decide who gets your possessions when you die.
If you want control over what happens to your belongings and other assets once you die, you need an estate plan. Don’t think just because you are young, you don’t need an estate plan. Estate planning isn’t just for those advanced in age. It’s for anyone and everyone who wants to plan out what will happen to their assets, or even their children once they pass away.
Do I Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
Technically, no, you don’t have to hire an estate planning attorney to put together your estate plan. However, it’s extremely helpful to have someone help you through the process. Keep in mind, one missing signature or wrong word can completely alter what you truly wanted in your trust or will.
How Much Does Estate Planning Cost?
Of course, your cost will change depending on various factors. However, a basic estate plan for a couple, which consists of medical directives, medical power of attorney, powers of attorney, and wills for each spouse, will typically run between $800 and $4,000.
What Is a Medical Power of Attorney?
A medical power of attorney gives someone else the ability to make decisions for you regarding healthcare. You set this up and select the person you want to serve in this role. The medical power of attorney is a legally binding way for you to ensure you have a certain person making your medical decisions should you be unable to do so for yourself.
What Is a Financial Power of Attorney?
A financial power of attorney gives another person the ability to make financial transactions for you. Sometimes, a financial power of attorney is used for a single event, like closing a real estate deal. However, this type of power of attorney is created to allow someone to manage your financial affairs if you are unable to do so for yourself. The official term for this is a “durable power of attorney for finances.”
When Should I Use a Trust in Estate Planning?
According to Fidelity Investments, a trust is an arrangement that allows another person to hold assets for your beneficiaries. The following are a few reasons you should consider making a trust part of your estate plan:
- It gives you control of your assets. You can decide who will get distributions from your trust and when. A revocable trust allows you to access your assets during your lifetime, while controlling how your assets will be distributed after your death. This is ideal for complex family situations, such as having children from more than one marriage who are all your beneficiaries.
- It helps protect your assets. A trust protects your assets from your heirs’ creditors. It also keeps your beneficiaries who may have poor money management skills from wasting your assets.
- It provides probate savings and privacy. As another benefit, a trust lets you avoid the probate process. Probate is a public transaction—it leaves public records. Therefore, your assets will all be made public. In addition, the cost of probate can become substantial when you take into account court fees and taxes. A trust will eliminate this cost, allowing your beneficiaries to keep more of your assets. It also keeps your personal assets private.
What Is a Living Will?
A living will—also called an advanced healthcare directive—is a way for you to make your wishes known when you are unable to speak for yourself. It is a set of written, legally binding guidelines that communicates your preferences if you become unable to communicate or become mentally incapacitated. Most advance directives will tell your family, doctors, and caregivers what you desire should you end up seriously injured, in a coma, or terminally ill. It will also communicate your wishes if you suffer from dementia and are unable to decide for yourself the best course of action medically.
Although it might seem morose to contemplate such unpleasant situations, you give your family the gift of peace of mind by giving them these guidelines. They won’t have to wonder what you would prefer or suffer the guilt of making the wrong choice.
Make sure to cover the following points by answering these questions:
- Resuscitation. What action, if any, do you want medical professionals to take if your heart stops beating?
- Mechanical ventilation. Are you okay with being on a ventilator that breathes for you? If so, for how long?
- Tube feeding. If a situation arises when you need tube feeding, is that okay? How long do you wish to be fed that way?
- Dialysis. This is a medical procedure that removes waste from your blood and regulates your fluid levels if your kidneys stop working. Are you okay with dialysis treatment? Is so, how long do you want these treatments to continue?
- Comfort care. Do you want comfort care in an effort to manage your pain? This can include being moved to your home to die or pain medications. It can also include your desire to avoid any painful treatments or tests.
- Tissue and organ donation. How do you feel about your tissue or organs being donated to others once you die?
What Is a HIPAA Waiver?
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. A HIPAA waiver is a legal document that allows another person to access your health information. This document can allow your child or spouse to call your doctor and get important information for you. It can also allow another doctor’s office or your insurance company to access your medical records.
What Is a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order?
A DNR is a written order that is legally binding that means you do not want cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) in the event you stop breathing. A DNR is also known as “allow natural death” or “no code.”
How Often Should You Review Your Estate Planning Documents?
In general, experts advise you to update your will and other estate plans every five years. However, if there is any change in your life before five years, you should make changes sooner. If you find yourself in either a better-than-expected financial situation or a worse situation, it’s a good idea to update your estate plan to properly reflect your current finances.
Planning what will happen after your death can be a difficult subject to contemplate. However, estate planning is a crucial part of being a responsible adult. By constructing a strategic estate plan, you ease the burden off your loved ones should you pass away. They will know, thanks to your plan, who gets what with regard to your assets. In addition, thanks to various aspects of an estate plan, you can also ensure your wishes are known before you die. Your family will know if you want to be kept alive artificially. This is one of the greatest gifts you could give them: the gift of knowing what to do if you become physically or mentally incapacitated.
As you can see, an estate plan is more than an after-death plan. It’s a plan that governs all of life and allows you to control what happens to you before you die and what happens to your belongings once you pass away.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Estate Planning Attorneys Today
The professional attorneys of Springs Law Group want to help you get your estate plan started today. There is no time like the present to begin legally defining your wishes for your loved ones. Contact us today for a free consultation or call us directly at 719.421.7141.