There are tons of mistakes to makes and many potholes to avoid when attempting to create a solid estate plan in Colorado. We are going to go over the top 7 that we see in our Northglenn-based practice.
Have questions on any of these? Give us a call at 720-547-2319 in Northglenn or 719-249-2785 in Colorado Springs. Our lawyers aim to help!
Avoid These Critical Mistakes When Drafting A Will
Here’s a list of the most common mistakes people make when creating an estate plan:
- Only having a will: A lot of individuals think that simply having a will that says where they want things to go will prevent court and stop probate. This is not true! If all you have is a will, there is a very high chance you will send your family to court, costing them thousands of dollars in legal fees even if they are not fighting about anything. Avoiding probate requires sophisticated planning that a simple will cannot provide on its own.
- Naming multiple people to be in charge: This is a very common mistake. Many people will name all of their children to be Personal Representative (also known as Executor) at the same time. This is a costly mistake that can lead to more fights down the road. If you have more than one person in charge, there is a much higher probability they will disagree on things. This leads to court and a longer, drawn out probate process as well.
- Failing to name backups. As an opposite to the previous mistake, many people will simply add one person as their power of attorney, personal representative, or other “power person.” This means that if that person passes away or can’t serve as your power person because they are incapacitated or out of town, you have no one to act. Then a judge has to come in, and we are in an expensive court hearing. Naming backup “power people” solves this problem.
- Doing your plan online: While we are biased because we are lawyers who draft wills, doing a plan online is a very bad idea. These plans can’t be witnessed or notarized for you, so when you receive them in the mail or print them off, they are not legally binding documents. Further, you don’t get to speak with an attorney who specializes in estate planning, you don’t really know if the plan will work until it is too late, and you don’t get the peace of mind you deserve when you do things online.
- Transferring property yourself: Don’t draft quitclaim or special warranty deeds by yourself! Your house cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s worth a few hundred dollars to have an attorney draft a proper deed to protect that value. We have seen so many people lose title to their home because they drafted a deed incorrectly. It then costs thousands of dollars to fix the problem. Do it right the first time and give an estate planning attorney a call.
- Creating irrevocable trusts: While irrevocable trusts have their place in certain plans, they are very dangerous documents. They should never, never, ever be done without consulting with a lawyer, and most times still not completed after that.
- Not talking with your family: This one is critical. Do not keep your plan a secret. It’s that simple. Have the uncomfortable meeting with your family, we promise it’s not as bad as you think it is, plus its an excuse to get everyone together. The more people who know what is supposed to happen when you pass, the harder it is to fight about. Surprises create fights, period.
Want To Learn More About The Many Other Mistakes That Can Be Made When Creating A Plan?
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