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Denver Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Succession planning tips using Broncos ownership example

It’s not that often that football and estate planning are in the same sentence. But wealthy families are the owners of many of the National Football League teams. With this come succession issues as many owners enter their 80s and 90s.

Denver Broncos ownership was one example in a recent Sports Illustrated article on the topic. It illustrates potential issues for any family business, ranch or farm owner who hopes for a successful transition to a younger generation.

Estate planning for singles

For aging singles in Colorado, estate planning may not come into mind as frequently as it would for married couples. And it is not just a myth, Denver has been known for its numbers of single men resulting in a moniker of “Menver.” For singles who have no children or spouse, there might not be a sense of urgency for who inherits property.

Aging, however, often requires help from managing finances to making tough quality of life and medical treatment decisions. Whether you choose one person to handle these tasks or assign one person to one job, it is crucial to have trustworthy individuals who can help plan your estate. Here are some areas that you may need help with as you grow older:

Updating an estate plan: when is it time?

Life doesn’t stand still, either abstractly or concerning estate matters.

The rule of thumb has long been that changes in your family structure trigger the need to review your estate plan to ensure that property will still be distributed according to your wishes. Such changes include death, divorce, remarriage or the birth of a child.

Sandwich generation decision making

The sandwich generation refers to those caring for their children/grandchildren and elderly parents. The number of families in this category will likely increase as the baby boom generation ages and millennial couples delay starting their own families.

In 2017, the overall number of births in the U.S. fell to 1987 levels, which reflected a 4 percent decrease in births to women in their 20s and early 30s. These statistics illustrate a trend of waiting to have children - the birth rate for women in their 40s was the only category with an increase.

From TED Talk to Denver neighborhood: Before I die…

Recently, two large chalkboards were propped against the wall next to Purple Door Coffee in the Five Points neighborhood. The question posed was not typical coffee shop fare. Written across the top, the sentence started, “Before I die I want to….”

A 2012 TED Talk by Candy Chang was behind the concept. Chang had lost a mother figure in 2009 and was looking for a use for an abandoned building in her New Orleans neighborhood. So, she put up chalkboards asking people to fill in the blank after “Before I die.” The responses made her laugh, cry and take solace that she was not alone.

The 4 main steps of Colorado probate

This process is one that few people think about until they have to figure out how to deal with the estate of a loved one. For many this first-time involvement with the probate system illustrates the mess that can be left behind without proper planning.

Probate is the established legal process used to make sure the decedent’s assets go to the right people (either according to the terms of a Will or Colorado intestacy laws). Here is a warning: If you do not have a will, state defaults decide everything for you. With that out of the way, we will cover the required steps in FAQ format.

Life insurance beneficiaries and divorce

For those getting a divorce, a beneficiary designation on a life insurance policy is not usually top of mind. And for that reason, states including Colorado, have passed laws that an ex-spouse beneficiary does not receive life insurance proceeds after a divorce unless there was an affirmative designation after the divorce.

A Minnesota state law passed in 2002 specified that after a divorce the designation of a former spouse is automatically revoked on a life insurance policy. The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on the constitutionality of the state law this term and upheld the state law.

Special needs trusts, pt. 2: putting the right tools in place

In our post last week, we discussed the acceptance phase when you first learn a child or grandchild has special needs. This post is a reminder on the various tools – both old and new – available to ensure financial resources are in place without affecting government benefit eligibility.

Special needs – this broad term encompasses severe brain injuries which require nearly round-the-clock care to autism which allows for work with certain accommodations. When Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income or other state or federal governmental programs provide support, you should consider setting up a special needs trust or ABLE account.

Celebs enlisted to send important guardianship message

It’s not every day that a late-night show takes on the topic of guardianships (in Colorado these are two appointments – a guardian makes decisions about well-being and a conservator handles finances). The Last Week Tonight segment with John Oliver began with this unfortunate fact: it is all too easy for a stranger to take control when a senior starts to fail.

There are approximately 1.3 million wards under guardianship across the country. This number will only increase as more baby boomers start to need additional help due to memory loss or other serious illnesses that affect cognition and decision-making skills. How can fiduciary relationships go wrong?

Conservator breaches fiduciary duty by taking sister’s assets

The Colorado Court of Appeals recently affirmed the probate court’s holding that the former conservator and brother of a woman with mental illness had breached his fiduciary duty and engaged in theft when he converted his sister’s assets to benefit himself and his children. 

Here at Chayet & Danzo, LLC, we provide legal guidance to people with fiduciary duties to protect interests of other people, often because the protected person is medically or cognitively vulnerable. We represent trustees, personal representatives, guardians, conservators, people exercising powers of attorney, and others with legal responsibilities toward people, trusts or estates.

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