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Denver Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Criminal exploitation of an at-risk person

A sheepish admission from a grandmother that she had been swindled of her savings launched a Washington state stay-at-home mother into action and advocacy.

First, she had to get prosecutors to investigate the case and pursue criminal charges. Advocacy and lobbying for a change came as she started telling her story and hearing others with similar stories share they didn't know it was a punishable crime.

FAQ about fiduciary duties in Colorado

Few people fully understand fiduciary duties in the context of trusts, estates, guardianships, conservatorships and similar matters. This is because they generally do not have to handle these duties on a daily basis.

As we discussed in our December blog post, a fiduciary is a person who acts on behalf of another person -- often called the principal or agent. The associated legal duty requires acting in good faith and making decisions that benefit or are in the best interest of the other person within the scope of the type of special relationship that they have.

Starting a conversation about end-of-life interventions

A New York Times book review had an especially personal tone. The reviewer is living with an advanced cancer diagnosis and grappling with care decisions. 

The book “Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life” raises some important questions. The author, Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter, is a physician specializing in pulmonary/critical care and palliative care. She makes a nuanced argument against the typical I.C.U. approach

How to keep loved ones from going through Colorado probate

Probate in Colorado is required to transfer assets to heirs if an estate contains more than $50,000 of personal property or real property (for example, a home in Cherry Creek or a condo in Steamboat). This low threshold means your estate may be destined for probate if you fail to take any action.

A recent book Climbing the Retirement Mountain and Getting Safely Down the Other Side was cited by Next Avenue for an analogy of the probate process to a "traffic jam at the intersection of Last Will and Testament Boulevard." This speaks to the fact that a will doesn't avoid probate and your loved ones could spend months or years navigating the court process.

Planned giving: What it is and how to do it right

Individual charitable gifts play an important role for most nonprofit organizations. Luckily people in Colorado are generous. In a 2014 study conducted by the Colorado Nonprofit Association 80 percent reported giving to a charity within the previous year.

Planned giving is a term that includes making gifts during your lifetime, but also includes establishing a philanthropic legacy. Because of this, charitable planned giving is often intertwined within the broader estate planning context.

When to challenge a Colorado will because of undue influence?

After the loss of a loved one, a will is normally submitted to the state court for probate. Usually, the court administers the estate without much debate. The court reviews the validity of the will. Then estate assets are inventoried, liabilities paid and what remains is distributed to beneficiaries of the will according to its instructions.

Sometimes, though, probate does not go this smoothly. Unfortunately, at times surviving family members, loved ones, friends or involved professionals have concerns that there may be a valid reason to challenge the will such as improper execution, fraud, incompetency or undue influence. We'll discuss the last in more detail in this post.

Lots of socks bring awareness to Down syndrome

Have you seen pictures of your friend's socks in your Facebook feed? March 21 was World Down Syndrome Day. One of the ways to bring awareness this year was to wear brightly colored socks, printed socks or even three socks (representing three chromosomes). The initiative was designed to get people talking, spark fundraising and create a broad online community.

The National Coordination of Associations of People with Down syndrome – that is a mouthful – known as CoorDown also released a video. It carries the theme of full inclusion and conveys the message of human needs rather than special needs. For families of those with Down syndrome, however, special considerations must be a part of any estate planning conversation.

Decisions regarding inherited property

Colorado has made the top 10 list for growth over the last couple years and its population now tops 5.5 million. Modest homes in Cherry Creek and other desirable Denver neighborhoods have appreciated greatly as more people continue to move into the area.

If your parents lived in one of these neighborhoods for years and recently passed away leaving you their home, what are your options? Will you owe capital gains on a sale of the property? How do you coordinate with siblings if the property was gifted in equal shares? We’ll answer these questions in this post.

YFEP: Young Family Estate Plan

Add it to idk, lol and tmi? Or maybe this acronym never reaches the same prominence in pop culture. But it does relate to an important topic for any couple with young children that is all too often overlooked.

Parenting young children is often exhausting and rarely leaves any free time. It is easy to put off estate planning with a “we’re too young” or “don’t have enough assets.” But creating a Young Family Estate Plan with a will, power of attorney and durable medical powers of attorney/living will does not take as much effort as you might expect.

Guardianships for US citizen children as ICE activity spikes

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) apprehensions and deportations have set communities on edge. In New York and Texas, the New York Times and The Texas Tribune have recently reported about long lines at the Bureau of Vital Statistics in New York City and the Travis County passport office. In one line, a family was waiting to get passports for US citizen children in the worst case situation that the parents are deported.

In Colorado, the Colorado sheriff's association recently clarified that recent immigration orders aren't likely to affect enforcement. We are writing about the issue, however, because deportations have the potential to tear apart Colorado families. Guardianships may be one option for documented relatives to care for US children left behind after a deportation.

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