Wills, Trusts, Estates and Probate

Wills, Estates and ProbateEstate Planning

Don will answer your estate planning questions in a practical, efficient manner, and prepare the necessary documents specifically designed for your unique situation. He will help you with all of your estate planning needs, including preparing documents as applicable to your personal situation.

Estate planning may include the following:

A will is a document in which a person specifies who is to receive his or her property upon death; designates the person who will be responsible for probating the estate; and appoints a guardian for minor children if there are minor children. A will may include a testamentary trust.
A codicil is a document that modifies a will. Depending upon how many changes there are, the types of changes, and when the will was signed, it is sometimes best to prepare a new will instead of preparing a codicil.
A living trust is a trust that is created during a person’s lifetime.
A testamentary trust is a type of trust that does not go into effect until the grantor (the person who made the trust) dies. Usually this type of trust is made within a will – often to create a trust for minors.
A revocable trust is a trust that can be amended or revoked.
A irrevocable trust is a trust that cannot be modified or revoked.
A living will is a document that states what type of medical treatment you do or do not wish to receive if you are too ill or injured to direct your own care.
A medical or health care power of attorney is a document that allows you to name a trusted person to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to communicate on your own.
A financial power of attorney allows you to name a trusted person to pay bills, make bank deposits, watch over investments, collect insurance or government benefits, and handle other financial matters on your behalf. A financial power of attorney is an extremely powerful document and must be very carefully reviewed prior to using the financial power of attorney as an estate planning tool.
HIPAA Medical Authorization allows the release of your medical information to persons whom you designate may receive your medical information.
If a medical emergency occurs, a do not resuscitate order (DNR) order alerts emergency personnel that you do not wish to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). DNR orders supplement other health care directives such as living wills, usually by those who are already critically ill and feel strongly that they do not want to receive life-prolonging treatment when close to death.
Charitable giving may help you minimize taxes while also supporting the causes that are meaningful to you.
A life insurance trust is a trust that is set up for the purpose of owning a life insurance policy.
A special needs trust is created to allow a physically or mentally disabled or chronically ill person to receive income without reducing eligibility for public assistance disability benefits.
A beneficiary deed is used to transfer ownership immediately and automatically to the beneficiary named in the deed upon the grantor’s (person who owns the property and is signing the deed) death.
A prenuptial agreement is a written contract between two people before they are married which governs what happens in the event of a divorce or legal separation. Prenuptial agreements commonly include provision about how assets and liabilities will be divided and issues involving spousal support.
A postnuptial agreement is a written contract executed after a couple is married, which governs what happens in the event of a divorce or legal separation.
A cohabitation agreement is a contract between two persons who have chosen to live together and agree upon the financial matters and ownership of assets resulting from living together.
Estate plans help clarify and document the relationship between gay and lesbian couples.
A designated beneficiary agreement allows two unmarried people to designate one another as the person entitled to certain financial protections and decision- making powers in major life events.
Asset protection consists of methods available to protect your assets from creditors.
Business planning includes setting goals for the future and how the goals will be reached. A business plan is a good tool for business planning.
Business succession planning ensures the continuity of your business when you retire or pass away.
A pet trust is a legal mechanism to provide for the care of a pet after the pet owner dies.

Probate

Don will guide you through probate when a loved one has passed away. He will meet with you, explain the entire probate process and how long probate takes, discuss the attorney fees and costs, answer all questions that you have, and prepare and file all documents that must be filed.. Don practices in many cities and counties. Please refer to the practice locations.

Don will help in the following areas:
Take the necessary steps, and prepare and file the appropriate documents with the court, to open a probate estate, whether a person has a will or does not have a will.
Review a probate estate which has already been opened and providing legal advice to someone who is an interested person in the probate.
Take the necessary steps, and prepare and file appropriate documents after an estate is fully administered, to close the estate.
(in some states referred to as executor and executrix and in Colorado called personal representative) A personal representative has a fiduciary duty in his or her capacity, and is responsible for collecting and inventorying the assets of the estate; managing the assets of the estate during the probate process; paying the bills and proper claims of the estate; making distributions to the devises, heirs and beneficiaries of the estate; and closing the estate after all of the above responsibilities have been completed.
Help determine the intent of a person in his or her will by reviewing the words used in the will.
Advise interested persons what course of action to take if the original will has been lost.
Determine if there is a basis to object to the validity of a will. Grounds to object to a will may include lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, or fraud. An objection may be to the entire will or a portion of the will.
Review the dynamics among family members and help resolve those difficult matters.
Represent a person who is a fiduciary. A fiduciary duty is a special relationship of trust that is owed to another. Examples of a fiduciary are a trustee of a trust or a personal representative (executor or executrix in some states) of a probate estate. The fiduciary relationship usually involves financial matters.
Represent a beneficiary. A beneficiary is one who receives money, property, or other benefits from another. For example, a person may be a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, a trust, or a will.
Review whether undue influence is present. Undue influence occurs when a person improperly exerts control and influence over another person for his or her own personal economic gain. Undue influence may occur when a person requests that a will be prepared for him or her.
Review whether a person has, or had, the testamentary capacity to sign a will. A person must have the mental competency to understand and sign a will when he or she signs it.
Review whether a person has breached his or her fiduciary duty.
Advise whether a common law marriage has occurred pursuant to the laws of the state of Colorado.
Review a surviving spouse’s rights when his or her spouse has passed away.
Review the rights of an omitted spouse. An omitted spouse is someone who is married and his or her spouse has passed away and the deceased spouse has not provided for him or her in the will or trust.
Review the legal rights of a child when his or her parent passes away.
Review the legal rights of someone who is excluded from inheriting.
Advise an interested person involved in an inheritance dispute.
Review and analyze claims filed in a probate proceeding by a purported creditor.
Help locate missing heirs.
Pursue legal action against third parties or defend lawsuits filed against the probate estate.
Determine if a probate action is necessary or if matters may be resolved without opening probate.

 

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