Longmont Estate Planning Attorney

Many people don’t fully understand the need to have an estate plan, especially when they are young and healthy. However, estate planning is about more than just creating a will or detailing how your assets get distributed after you are gone. An experienced Longmont estate planning attorney can help you make decisions that can reduce your tax liabilities, help you develop business succession plans, assist you with asset protection, and so much more. The attorneys at Brady, McFarland & Lord, LLC have been helping people with their estate planning needs for decades. Call our office at (303) 420-2863 or contact us online for a free initial interview.

Longmont Estate Planning FAQ’s

We often receive the same questions over and over from people trying to understand estate planning and whether they need to hire an estate planning attorney or not. We hope this FAQ page helps you understand the importance of consulting with a lawyer.

What Does a Longmont Estate Planning Lawyer Do?

Estate planning is the process of ensuring that your possessions, intellectual property, wills, trusts, and possessions are handled properly after you pass away, or if you become incapacitated and are unable to make certain decisions. Your estate is made up of your assets and everything you own, such as cars, properties, cash, jewelry, investments, retirement accounts, savings, and more. An estate planning lawyer in Longmont will help you develop a plan under which all of these possessions are taken care of according to your wishes.

Who In Longmont Needs an Estate Plan?

Simply put, everyone. Estate planning isn’t just for rich people or older people. No matter how much or how little you own, it’s essential to make a plan so you leave direct instructions directing the correct management of everything that you owned. Otherwise, everything you’ve worked so hard for might not be distributed in the manner in which you would have preferred. Estate planning encompasses powers of attorneys, wills, trusts, and healthcare directives as well. It’s not just about how much money you have.

Many people don’t know what estate planning is or don’t understand exactly why it’s important. Discussing what we want to happen to our assets after we pass away isn’t something anyone really wants to do, but it’s crucial if you want to make sure that your assets are distributed according to plan and that all your other wishes are followed. If you find yourself in any of the following situations, consider hiring an estate planning lawyer:

Caring for Aging Parents

If you have aging parents and are beginning to worry about their mental and physical health, you should help them set up a meeting with an estate planning lawyer. This needs to be done while your parents are still healthy and capable enough to make their own decisions. It may be necessary to set up guardianships or conservatorships to ensure that your parents will be taken care of and not taken advantage of as they age and can no longer make decisions for themselves.

Involved in a Domestic Partnership

If you have a long-term significant other but you are not married, it’s crucial to discuss estate planning. Without being legally married, you will lose out on certain legal protections. Setting up wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care directives, and other important documents will allow you and your partner to have some of the same legal protections that married couples enjoy.

Business Owners

All business owners should consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure the continued success of their business. If you own a business and become incapacitated or pass away and you have no succession plan, your business could be in trouble. Make your wishes very clear so that all of your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

Estate Planning Services We Offer in Longmont

When going through the process of estate planning, it’s important to know what you are looking for. Some of the most common estate planning services we offer in Longmont include the following:

  • General Estate Planning
  • Asset Protection
  • Business Planning
  • Medicaid Planning
  • Tax Assistance
  • Probate and Trust Settlement
  • Estate Planning for Non-Traditional and Blended Families
  • Living Wills and Advanced Directives

The list above is not exhaustive. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, contact us to discuss your options. If you aren’t entirely sure what you are looking for but know that you need help with estate planning, contact us for help. We are here to help you with every step of the estate planning process.

What Are Some Common Estate Planning Mistakes?

If you decide to start planning and work with an estate planning attorney, this will significantly reduce your risk of making mistakes. However, some of the most common mistakes include the following:

Some of the biggest mistakes made by testators when planning their estates include:

  • Limiting estate planning to just the creation of a will. Leaving out vital components of estate planning, such as trusts or guardianships, can be a foolhardy mistake that complicates decisions following your death, such as the care of minor or disabled children. 
  • Not discussing your plans with your family. Feelings are easily bruised when it comes to inheritance issues, and that’s not to mention the time and money that may be spent on litigation if heirs are surprised by choices made in your will or trust. 
  • Failing to review your estate plan from time to time. Your estate plan should reflect the events in your life—births, deaths, marriages, and divorces can all impact who gets what when you pass away. 
  • Foregoing the creation of medical directives. Choosing a medical proxy and establishing a living will or other advanced directives can help difficult situations be handled more easily when family or other designated representatives understand your final wishes for medical care. 
  • Planning your estate without regard to taxes and probate. A skilled estate planning attorney can not only help shield your heirs from taxes (at least to an extent), but can also help keep your estate from being tied up in probate court unnecessarily. 
  • Doing it yourself. Do-it-yourself estate planning is rarely a good idea. There is no substitute for the sage advice of an attorney who understands the intricacies of estate planning.

When Should I Update My Estate Plan?

Anytime there is a major change in your life, it’s a good idea to review and possibly change your estate plan. For example, did you buy or sell a business, get married or divorced, purchase new properties, or have children or grandchildren? Is your health suffering for some reason? All of these are good reasons to consider reviewing and updating your estate plan with an experienced and trusted lawyer.

What Do Most Estate Plans Include?

All estate plans are different because it depends on individual needs and wants, as well as what kinds of assets you have and what plans you need to make. However, many estate plans include the following:

  • A will. Sometimes referred to as a “last will and testament,” a will is a legal document that makes your wishes clear when it comes to how and to whom your assets will be distributed once you have departed this life. Perhaps more importantly, if you have minor children, a will can set forth the framework for the care of the children in the event of your death. 
  • Guardianships and conservatorships. Although guardianships and conservatorships are similar, they are not the same. A guardian is someone who oversees the medical and physical care of a minor (or a dependent of limited capacity) while a conservatorship is someone who handles the person’s personal and financial affairs. 
  • Trusts. A trust is a type of fiduciary arrangement where you give someone else the right to hold assets or property for someone else, such as a minor child or young adult. Trusts protect held assets, ensure their distribution according to your wishes, and can even help with the reduction or avoidance of estate or inheritance tax. There are several trust structures to consider when planning your estate, and an experienced estate planning attorney can help you decide which, if any, is right for your needs. 
  • A healthcare agent, also known as a surrogate, attorney-in-fact, or proxy. If you become incapacitated, a healthcare agent makes decisions regarding your medical care in your stead. 
  • A healthcare directive. These legal documents spell out your medical care preferences in the event that you are unable to make medical decisions yourself. This might be due to extreme illness or sickness or in the aftermath of a serious accident.

What is the Process of Estate Planning?

You might know that estate planning is important, but don’t fully understand how the process works. One of the most important aspects of estate planning is determining what happens to your assets once you pass away. This can seem intimidating but understanding the process will make it less stressful. Typically, the estate planning process includes the following steps:

  • Compile a list of your assets, debts, and account numbers.
  • Develop a plan. If you don’t detail what you want to happen to your assets, your friends and family members will have to go to court to deal with your estate. When you develop and implement a solid plan, it can save a lot of time and money for your loved ones.
  • Document all of your wishes in detail. This goes beyond what you want to happen to your assets. This should include appointing powers of attorney and drawing up advanced medical directives. You want the important people in your life to know exactly what you want when you pass away or if you aren’t able to communicate it.
  • Appoint a fiduciary. It’s important to appoint someone you trust to help you carry out the plan and ensure that all of your wishes are followed.

Your estate plan will always look different from someone else’s because of the individualized nature of the process. When you contact an experienced estate planning lawyer, they can help you with every aspect of planning.

Our Longmont Estate Planning Lawyers Can Answer Any Questions You Have

If you still have questions after reading this FAQ page, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our firm. We offer a free initial interview to anyone interested in further discussing their estate planning needs. We have been helping people for more than 20 years. At our firm, it is all about you and helping you meet your goals. Call our office at (303) 420-2863 or contact us online for your free consultation.