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Colorado Estate Planning Blog

How can I protect my IRA accounts for my heirs?

When it comes to estate planning and retirement accounts in Colorado, the one thing you should try to avoid is making your estate the beneficiary. If you do not name your heirs on your IRA retirement accounts, then probate court will attach them to your estate, leaving it vulnerable to creditors. Not naming your loved ones as beneficiaries on your IRA accounts can also cheat them out the tax benefits and their inheritances. 

Here is a brief overview on how you can protect your retirement accounts for your heirs. 

What happens if you die without a will in Colorado?

If you want to ensure you have a say as far as who is going to receive your assets after your passing, it is essential that you create a will. Otherwise, you relinquish control over your own belongings, and the duty of distributing them falls into the hands of the state.

If you die without a will, the decision of who will ultimately inherit your estate depends on several factors. Generally, if you die intestate, the state will look to see, first, whether you have close relatives, and if so, they may assume control over your assets. The Colorado Probate Code outlines the rules of succession.

Why do I need a health care power of attorney?

Many people in Colorado do not realize how important it is for them to establish health care power of attorney (POA) for the times they are unable to care for themselves. Accidents and illnesses can happen in the blink of an eye that could leave you unresponsive and unable to make critical decisions about your medical care. Even though you may want your family and loved ones to step up to make those decisions for you, without the right documentation in place, they may not be able to. 

It is important for you to establish a health care power of attorney so you do not have to rely on a court-appointed stranger and your medical doctors to manage your medical care without regards to you and your family's wishes. 

Proud grandparent? How to divide assets among your grandchildren

If you’re a grandparent with a large family, you likely take pride in all your grandchildren. As part of your estate plan, you may want to divide your finances and property among those grandkids.

However, this can be complicated—especially if you want to leave a house or other high-value physical property to your grandchildren.

Single parents and estate planning

One thing that single parents in Colorado should make a priority is estate planning. Even though the thought of not being around for their kids is not a pleasant one, the idea of having the courts choose someone random to raise their kids is even more distressing. Careful consideration should be given to the distant future so they can make plans to protect their children. 

According to ABCNews.com, single parents should make sure that everything they include in their wills and estate planning documents is “clear, up-to-date and specific.” There are some key areas single parents should focus on to ensure that their kids are properly cared for after their deaths. 

Creating a succession plan for your small business

As you near retirement as a small business owner, you need to start thinking about a succession plan. That may mean leaving the business to a family member or preparing for a sale.

No matter what you want to do with your business, it is important that you have a plan in place that protects your assets and ensures your business succeeds when you’re gone.

MY EMPLOYEE DIED, WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES?

A CPA just asked for my help in advising the CPA's client on how to distribute the last paycheck(s) of a deceased employee. When an employee dies, the employer needs to treat the situation similar to any other termination of an employee. The estate would be entitled to the deceased's last pay, unused vacation time, etc. as if the employee was alive but no longer employed.

Executor choice and inheritance disputes

Many people in Colorado believe that they can keep their loved ones from fighting over their inheritances with estate plans. Unfortunately, death and inheritances often bring out the worse in some people. One common reason why some individuals fight over a loved one’s estate is that they are not happy with the person who is in charge of managing it. 

A testator can choose who they want to serve as their estate's executor. That does not mean that their beneficiaries must like their choice. But unless they have a valid reason to contest it, they must accept the testator’s selection. 

How can I create a bulletproof estate plan?

As a lifelong resident of Colorado, it is not enough for you to just create a will to protect your assets. You need to make sure your plans are dispute proof. Rushing through the estate planning process can lead to mistakes that can result in your final wishes being ignored. 

People are living longer these days. You should expect to do so too. Even though you want to provide for your family after you die, you need to consider what will happen to you near the end of your life. Here are some ways you can bulletproof your estate plans. 

Rising healthcare costs highlight the importance of estate planning

As seniors age, they often see an increase in their health care needs. In Colorado, costs for a rapidly aging population are expected to explode in the coming years.

The rise in costs could affect everyone in the state, but we also want to highlight why these numbers show the value in estate planning.

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