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Denver Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

The stages of inherited wealth

A recent Facebook advertisement from the New Yorker linked to a piece written by Norah Ephron from an October 2010 issues. The stages that she describes are still apt today.

When completing estate planning, it is helpful to keep in mind the expectations of children and other loved one. If you choose another route other than an equal split, make sure to explain the decision.

When does an estate need a new administrator?

Usually, it is only required when there are serious disagreements, liability issues or litigation. In your will, making a wise decision about who to name as personal representative may avoid the issue altogether. It is truly one of the benefits of a will, you get to decide who has the necessary skills to administer your estate according to your wishes.

Sit down with this trusted person during the estate planning process and make sure that they understand and agree to take on the responsibilities. This issue of multiple administrators has come up in Prince’s lengthy probate case a year after his tragic, untimely death.

Caution needed on joint bank accounts

Opening a joint account with one child could result in unintended issues. It might even provide a larger inheritance to one child after you sought to provide roughly equal gifts to your children in your will.

Your parents may be aging and looking for some help managing their finances. Or it could be that you are now seeking assistance from a local adult child as you transition to an assisted living apartment. We will explain what can happen with joint bank accounts and why a durable power of attorney may be preferable.

How to account for sibling rivalry in an estate plan

Almost as soon as a younger sibling arrives, so does rivalry for parent attention. As the children grow up, it is amazing to see how early these rivalries turn into “hitting” and “no, thank yous.” As children grow up together these behaviors change, but sibling rivalry rarely ever goes away.

What can happen when you neglect to have a conversation about sibling rivalry during the estate planning process? It can lead to unintended fights that can taint relationships. But there are three general tips for avoiding these situations when considering your legacy.

Same-sex couples should make or review estate plans

Since same-sex marriage became legal in Colorado in October 2014, it may seem that legal matters related to the marital relationship like those concerning property, inheritance, children, medical decision making, visitation in hospitals and other similar issues are resolved.

However, it is wise for anyone in a same-sex relationship to sit down with an attorney to discuss certain legal issues, especially those concerning estate planning that can directly impact each partner as well as their children in significant ways. 

Death tax on life insurance benefits

Life insurance plays a vital role in many estate plans. It provides salary replacement for a family if a heart attack or tragic car accident takes the life of a breadwinner. These policies may also be a part of a business or ranch/farm succession plan.

Generally, life insurance death benefits pass without triggering Federal or Colorado state tax. One thing that most people do not consider is that these benefits can be added to the value of a taxable estate when they pass to someone other than a spouse.

How to keep a company thriving? Business continuity plans

When is the right to time do business continuity planning if you are a sole owner or have a family business you would like to eventually hand off to children? It’s right now.

Here is a story that illustrates the importance of starting the process right away. A business owner of a local outfitter went missing while in the back country. Once probate proceedings started the store was already in trouble. The owner has given little thought to what would happen assuming he would sell it before retiring.

Student loans: Who pays them if you die?

Approximately 44.2 million Americans are paying off student loan debt and it is hanging around longer than ever. Whether it will survive you will depend on the type of student loan.

Did you cosign on student loans for a child or grandchild, return to earn another degree later in your career or worry that a six figure graduate loan will outlive you? In this post, we will cover how student loan debt is treated in estate administration.

Undue influence and pay-on-death designations

A caregiver or child who lives closest to an elderly parent may exert influence in an effort to get a larger inheritance. It's a problem when pressure - whether overpersuasion, coercion or manipulation - leads to a change in the terms of a will that favors the influencer.

Litigation over the validity of a will often focuses on this concept of undue influence over a testator (the person who signs the will). In our March blog post, we discussed warning signs that might indicate undue influence. But how does this affect pay-on-death (POD) accounts with beneficiary designations that are generally transferred outside the probate process?

Medicaid eligibility numbers update for 2017

Medicaid provides health care insurance for 4.6 million seniors across the country, including long-term care costs. Most of these seniors also receive some medical benefits from joint enrollment in Medicare.

Sorting out eligibility for these programs can be complicated. We provided some statistics about nursing home costs in Colorado and Medicaid eligibility a number of years ago and wanted to update those numbers for 2017 in this blog post.

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