Unfortunately, young people in Colorado and other states, often ignore estate planning. Maybe that is because most young people are just in the highlight, or beginning, of building an estate. But young or old, if you have established any assets at all, you should consider the possibility that something could happen to you.
Who would get your assets? If you die without a will, it is called “intestate.” This means that your state rules will decide who inherits your assets and/or property.
In Colorado, if you are unmarried, and without children, your assets would more than likely go to your surviving parents first. If they are deceased, next would be your siblings. If there are no siblings, then grandparents or their surviving descendants. Distant cousins or relatives are usually not included in the Colorado rules. If no one is living, your assets could end up belonging to the state.
In the case where the parents of a deceased child are divorced or estranged, unless one parent has not been involved in the child’s life, both parents should receive equal amounts of their child’s estate. However, if they are estranged, a bitter battle may entail. Also, if you have an unmarried partner — unfortunately, they are out of the loop.
If you are married, and do not have children, your assets will go to your spouse for up to the first $200,000, and then one-fourth of the balance after that may go your parents if they are living; your spouse will be able to keep the remaining three quarters.
If you have children, the entire amount will go to your spouse, who has the responsibility of raising the children. Additional rules apply if you have children from a previous marriage or relationship. You should consider establishing a plan for your assets while you are young, and carry it out through your lifetime.
This is especially important if you are living with a partner and are not married. If you die unexpectedly, you may want your partner to have your assets, but partners have no legal rights to them.
It is never too early to set up a will, but you should also set up a schedule to review and update it on a regular basis.
Source: Forbes, “Cory Monteith Shows How Even Young Adults Need Wills” Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Jan. 28, 2015