Estate planning is a process that involves planning for the distribution of your assets upon your death so that your assets go to the people and organizations that you desire as efficiently as possible. Estate planning can also involve planning for the unfortunate chance that you are alive, but unable to make decisions for yourself. Who do you want to handle the distribution of your assets upon your death? Who do you want to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated? How and when do you want your children to inherit your assets? These are some of the questions that can be answered with effective estate planning.
The law firm of Thomas A. Dill, P.C., Attorney at Law features estate planning as one of the areas of law that we enjoy practicing the most. While most of our estate planning clients come from Crested Butte, Gunnison, Lake City and Salida, we have helped clients from all parts of Colorado with their estate planning needs. Peter Bogardus began drafting wills, trusts and other estate planning documents over ten years ago for clients who owned property in Gunnison County, but who lived most of the time outside of Colorado.
Our clients who come to us for help with planning how their estates will be distributed feel charitable as they plan their gifts. Also, our estate planning clients get gratification in knowing that they are leaving road maps for their families and friends to guide those who are left behind regarding the wishes of our clients.
We have the experience and expertise to answer all of your questions about estate planning, including:
Who will take care of my young children if I die prematurely?
Should I consider a revocable living trust?
How can I avoid potential conflicts among my family members after I die?
How can I make sure my children do not get their inheritance until they are ready?
What if my spouse remarries after I’m gone?
Can I protect my child’s inheritance from loss in a divorce?
What’s the best way to give back to my community?
Not only can our lawyers answer these estate planning questions for you, but we can advise you about the many estate planning tools that can be used to maximize your goals.
Basic Estate Planning. The basic estate planning tools that our firm uses include a last will and testament, a general durable power of attorney, a medical durable power of attorney, a declaration as to surgical treatment and anatomical gifts, and a HIPAA release.
last will and testament
general durable power of attorney
medical durable power of attorney
declaration as to surgical treatment and anatomical gifts
A will is the vehicle that usually collects instructions to distribute property and belongings. However, the job of passing substantial financial assets, or passing assets to beneficiaries who are disabled or who are children should be left to a Trust. For many of our estate planning clients, we draft wills that contain a trust that only comes into existence if one of the beneficiaries named in the will are either disabled or not yet old enough to be owners of your assets. While some people choose for their assets to be distributed to their children when their children turn eighteen years old, others want their children to wait until they turn twenty-one, twenty-five or even thirty-five years old. Our estate planning attorneys draft each will according to a client’s wishes. Recently an estate planning client wanted the trust created by her will to direct that her children are to receive half the value of each’s share of the assets in the trust upon their graduation from a four year accredited college or university and the remaining half when each turns thirty years old. While the lawyers in our firm draft wills that contain provisions for the creation of trusts in certain situations, there are many reasons to create separate trusts at the same time a will is created.
Establishing a Separate Trust. There are situations where a separate trust is a worthwhile addition to your estate planning toolbox. Trusts can do more than delay the distribution of your assets until a time when you think the beneficiaries that you name will be more suited to receive the assets. Our law firm can draft trusts that combine investment and possible tax-saving opportunities to provide for your heirs after your death. Not only can trusts be created to ensure that your assets will be used exactly as you intended, but Trusts can make certain your heirs are not forced to liquidate assets to pay estate taxes.
Trust Benefits. A Trust may provide many benefits for your estate planning. These benefits include:
Managing Estate Taxes
Protecting Family Assets
Planning for Incapacity
Using trusts in a gift or estate plan can provide significant tax savings while preserving some control over what happens to the transferred assets.
Types of Trusts. The type of Trust you select will, of course, depend upon your personal financial situation and future objectives. Some Trust alternatives include Revocable Living Trusts and Irrevocable Trusts.
Revocable Living Trusts. A revocable living trust is a flexible estate-planning tool that can be used under a variety of circumstances: while you’re still living; in the event you are incapacitated; and when you die. Under the terms you stipulate as grantor of a revocable living trust, you can be the trustee or retain a corporate trustee to provide investment management services, you can collect income from the trust, and you can reinvest or distribute the income according to your wishes. The trustee, whether it is you or a corporate trustee, can also pay bills from the trust and assume responsibility for record-keeping. While you may serve as your own trustee, a corporate trustee can relieve you of responsibilities you have neither the time or desire, or, perhaps, the ability to handle. With a revocable trust, you retain full control over the assets in the trust, as well as the right to amend or revoke the trust document at any time.
Irrevocable Trusts. With an irrevocable trust, the grantor cannot alter the terms or recover the assets during the trust’s existence. Some of the more common types of trusts include:
Credit Shelter TrustsCredit Shelter Trusts, also known as the By-Pass Trust, are structured to provide the surviving spouse with annual income and access to principal.
Charitable Remainder TrustsMany individuals use the Charitable Remainder Trust as a vehicle to enable them to sell a highly appreciated asset without paying immediate capital gains taxes, reinvest the full amount and increase their lifetime income.
Irrevocable Life Insurance TrustsWith a Life Insurance Trust, you can reduce your taxable estate. You simply place or purchase a life insurance policy inside of a Trust and pay premiums in the form of annual gifts to your beneficiaries.
Trusts For MinorsA Minor’s Trust is an irrevocable trust that can serve as an alternative to a Uniform Gifts to Minor’s Account (UGMA)
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