Estate Planning Frequently Asked Questions In Colorado
Althaus Law was founded to protect our clients’ interests through estate planning. A very important part of this goal is to ensure that each individual fully understands all of his or her options and has all of his or her questions answered. Some of the most common questions we receive are answered below.
Answers To Your Specific Questions
What is estate planning?
Estate planning involves creating a plan for loved ones on how to distribute property when you pass away. It can also be used to create guardianships for children, obtain tax advantages by avoiding gift and estate tax, and allow you to assign powers of attorney over your finances/healthcare should you become incapacitated.
What happens if I do not have a will or estate plan?
If you do not have an estate plan, your property will pass according to Colorado intestacy laws. These laws will apply even if you had verbal agreements with individuals regarding the distribution of your property, making it critical to have a lawyer draft your documents so you can be confident they will hold up in court.
Doesn’t my spouse take over things without an estate plan?
No. Certain things will transfer to your spouse automatically, such as jointly owned property, but there may be financial and healthcare decisions that your spouse will not be able to make without a proper power of attorney.
How long is the process?
Every estate plan is different, so determining the length of time is unique for each client. For a basic estate plan, the process should take less than one month to complete. For more complicated plans, the process can be much longer.
How often do I need to update my plan?
It is always a good idea to review your plan annually so your attorney can accommodate for any changes in property or new additions to your family. As a client, an annual meeting with Althaus Law to assess your plan is free of charge.
What is probate and why is avoiding probate beneficial to me?
Probate is the court process of transferring the title of assets to the correct beneficiaries after death. This process is public, can be costly and also very time consuming. Avoiding probate allows your heirs to avoid court costs and attorney fees. It also allows them to receive assets sooner and keep the process private.
How do fees work?
Althaus law provides clients with upfront and easy-to-understand flat fees for most estate planning services. For complicated estates, an hourly rate is charged that will be discussed with you prior to your representation beginning so you are not in the dark.
Is there a charge for updating my plan?
An annual review meeting with your attorney at Althaus Law is free of charge. If any action is required following one of these meetings, that service will be charged at a flat fee or hourly rate depending on the exact service needed.
Do You Have More Estate Planning Questions?
Get in touch with our estate planning law firm in Thornton for answers to all of your planning questions.