On March 24, 2014

Residents of Colorado can arrange for the distribution of their assets after death by taking a few critical estate planning steps. Estate planning is the process of determining how each asset will be distributed after one’s death and to whom those assets will be distributed. Experts say the planning process is extremely important, especially if an individual has specific estate planning goals.

Estate planning is important for anyone with substantial assets or with dependents. However, it is especially important for those who are living together but not married. These individuals may want to pass on their assets to their partner in much the same way a married couple would. However, in the absence of a will or testamentary trust state intestacy laws would govern their distribution, which would likely not be in the manner that the decedent intended. A valid will or trust can help them make sure that their assets are passed on in accordance with their wishes.

Estate planning is also important for those who have been married multiple times and have children from previous marriages. Without an estate plan in place, their assets may flow directly to their current spouse, cutting their children out of the loop. A will could be used to direct assets to the appropriate loved ones. If the children are minors, a trust may be appropriate to make sure any assets they received are carefully managed until they attain legal age.

For many individuals, a basic will may be sufficient. However, unique situations could require a trust or more complex documents. Individuals with a large amount of assets may also have to consider estate tax issues. An estate planning attorney may be able to review an individual’s situation and recommend documents suitable for their needs.

Source: Millionaire Corner, “Estate Planning Basics“, Kent McDill, March 20, 2014

Categories: Estate Planning

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