Estate Planning Lawyers Serving Colorado – Offices in Denver and Edwards
Estate planning is the process where an individual develops a plan to ensure that the assets they have accumulated during their lifetime are protected at their death and distributed as they choose. At Chayet & Danzo, LLC, our Denver estate planning lawyers offer a full range of estate planning services to meet the varied needs of our clients. If you are interested in scheduling a free consultation with a member of our team, please call us at 303-872-5980.
Why Prepare An Estate Plan With An Attorney?
Many people mistakenly believe that they do not need a last will and testament or other estate planning documents until they are elderly or ill. Our lawyers know that even if you are young and healthy, you should have an estate plan. Life is unpredictable. If the unthinkable happens and you lose your capacity or pass away suddenly, you could do so intestate. This means that you do not have a will in place.
If you die intestate, the state of Colorado follows its intestacy laws when distributing your assets. This means that your property might not go to the people you would have chosen. Your loved ones might also face expensive legal fees and have to go through probate, which is a highly complex and time-consuming process. By working with a Denver estate planning lawyer ahead of time, you can remain in control and spare your loved ones a lot of stress.
Why Work With An Estate Planning Lawyer?
There are plenty of do-it-yourself (DIY) options for estate plans online. Why not use those? Because they are not effective or legally sound. You have no guarantee that documents you find online are accurate or that they will address your needs. Many Colorado courts will not uphold wills and other estate planning documents, such as powers of attorney, created online. A Denver estate planning lawyer will make sure that you do everything in a manner that will hold up in court. They will make detailed estate plans to meet your needs so that you will be able to pass on your assets without any slip-ups.
What’s more, they can create documents customized to you. A DIY plan is a generic, broad outline that is cookie-cutter in nature, not tailored. You deserve highly specific tools that are as unique as your life is.
Offering Various Estate Planning Legal Services
We offer assistance in the following estate planning services:
- Living and testamentary trusts
- Revocable and irrevocable trusts
- Insurance planning and life insurance trusts
- Special needs and disability trusts
- Simple and complex will drafting
- A complimentary checkup on your existing estate plan
- Wealth preservation counseling and asset protection planning
- Guardianships and conservatorships
- Business succession planning
- Family limited partnerships and limited liability companies
- Legacy planning
- Powers of attorney (durable general and financial)
- Durable medical powers of attorney/living wills
- Health care proxies and directives
- Charitable planning
We also provide comprehensive legal advice to our clients in the areas of:
- Home and asset protection planning
- Medicaid and disability planning
- Long-term care planning
For extensive information about estate planning in Colorado, please see our Estate Planning and Elder Law FAQ.
Why You Need An Estate Plan
1. You have no plan in place. If you don’t have a will or a trust, the state of Colorado will write a will for you. Will this one-size-fits-all plan that doesn’t really fit anyone in particular work for your family? Will your estate be subject to litigation in order to decide who gets your property? Crafting a comprehensive estate plan avoids complications.
2. You have minor children. If anyone to whom you wish to leave money is under the age of 21, they will be unable to inherit your money in Colorado without the court appointing a conservator to make decisions for the minor. If this occurs, court costs can eat up a lot of a child’s inheritance. There is also the issue that money the minor may need to live on will be tied up for a lengthy period of time. And, finally, the children will receive the money at the age of 21, which can be the worst possible time to give a child a large sum of money. Our lawyers can help you sort out the details and also assist you with guardianship issues related to minors involved in the probate process. Our probate attorneys are routinely appointed as guardians ad litem by the courts or requested to hold this position by family members.
3. You have a taxable estate. The amount that you can inherit free of taxes is currently scheduled to increase gradually. In 2018, it was $11.18 million, and in 2019, it was $11.4 million. The top marginal estate tax rate is 40%.
4. You or a close family member is over the age of 45, is terminally ill, has failing health or may become incapacitated. If you or a close family member is older than age 45 or are terminally ill or incapacitated, you may not be able to make decisions on your behalf later on unless you plan ahead. If you have not dictated who can make decisions for you and when they can make the decisions for you, you, again, will be doomed to the court making that decision for you.
5. Either you or your spouse has children from a previous marriage. When spouses have children from a previous marriage, one spouse’s children may get left out, or conflict may arise between the step-spouse and stepchildren, between the children, or between the parents.
6. You are self-employed or own rental property. If you are self-employed or have rental property, keep in mind that there will be a significant time delay before a personal representative will be appointed to care for your rental property or business in your absence. Essentially, there will be a period of time when your rental property and/or business has to go on autopilot.
7. You have a child who may not be responsible or is married to someone who may not be responsible. Do you have inheritance protection for a child who may be subjected to a spendthrift spouse, divorce, lawsuits, creditors or bankruptcy? Do you have a child who has a problem maintaining shopping impulse control? If so, there is a way that you can control and minimize this risk through proper planning. Keep in mind that the average inheritance – regardless of size – is completely spent within 18 months of receipt.
8. You have an IRA or a 401(k) account. Retirement accounts are rarely coordinated with an individual’s estate plan, which can result in tax problems. It is important to put the planning in place to ensure that these plans continue to grow tax-deferred for future generations to come.
9. You own joint tenancy property. If one joint owner becomes mentally disabled, then the property may become frozen. Property may also pass to unintended persons at death. Any person who ends up with the property after the passing of a joint owner may also find themselves inheriting a huge tax liability. You may also be exposing your property interest to unintended creditors.
10. You have a disabled child or are responsible for a dependent adult. Disabled children and dependent adults require special planning to ensure that they are not going to lose any public assistance or benefits that they are currently receiving.
11. You have only a simple will in place now. Simple wills are not appropriate for everyone. Used improperly, a simple will can lead to major problems, including subjecting someone to unnecessary estate tax. Even a simple will may fail if you have not properly titled your property. Joint ownership may also cause a will to fail.
12. You have an old estate plan in place or have a plan from another state. The average estate plan has not been updated in 19.6 years. Consider all the changes in your life and in the law that have occurred during that period of time. Your plan should be reviewed and potentially updated every three to five years. And, it should be updated to reflect the laws of the state where you currently live. If you have moved from another state, there will most likely be numerous substantial changes that should be made to your plan.
Adequately Preparing Your Estate Plan Entails Many Benefits
- It ensures that your children will be cared for by the person(s) who are most qualified to raise them in your absence.
- It makes sure that your surviving spouse/partner will be adequately provided for.
- It helps avoid probate.
- It minimizes estate taxes and generation-skipping transfer taxes.
- It allows you to name qualified people to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
- It allows you to document your wishes with regard to your end-of-life care.
- It protects your children’s inheritances from creditors and failed marriages.
- It reduces the likelihood of family squabbles after your death.
- It can provide funding to your favorite charity at your death.
- It can provide or care for your pets.
Whether you are looking to maximize the value of your estate passed to your descendants or you hope to minimize conflicts with your family, our attorneys can help you craft a personalized estate plan based on your needs.
Why Choose Chayet & Danzo, LLC?
When you work with us, you are selecting one of the premier elder law firms in Colorado. Our lawyers have distinguished themselves in the legal field by winning many accolades. This includes many of them being selected for inclusion in Colorado Super Lawyers, an achievement given annually to only the top 5% of attorneys in the state. Our partner, Marco Chayet, is highly regarded for his knowledge of elder law. He teaches elder law across the state and publishes works to help guide families through various elder law issues.
As fiduciary representatives, our lawyers act in your best interests at all times. Their extensive experience makes them adept in their areas of practice. This enables us to offer clients the sophistication of a large law firm with the personal service and efficient costs of a boutique firm. Our attorneys prioritize creating value for our clients. They do this by providing comprehensive advice and effectively using cutting-edge technology and a broad spectrum of other resources.
- What is estate planning?
- Are internet estate planning forms valid?
- How do I maintain my estate plan?
- What is elder law?
- What is long-term care insurance?
- What does probate mean for Colorado residents?
- What is a will?
- What is a living will?
- When should I update my will, trust or estate plan?
- What is the difference between a will and a trust?
- What is a CPR directive?
Contact Our Colorado Estate Planning Attorneys
We provide clients all over Colorado with customized estate planning services tailored to meet each individual’s needs. Call us at 303-872-5980 or contact us today to see how our team can help you. We offer free initial consultations at our Denver and Edwards offices. Our lawyers can also help people located in California who have legal matters in Colorado through our affiliation with Blanchard, Krasner & French in California.