Learn more about wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, etc. The list goes on and on. What is right for you? What do you need? How much is a reasonable amount to pay? Find out here!

Estate Planning

If you are one of those individuals who hears “estate planning” and immediately thinks about rich people, you are not alone. Unfortunately, the myth that only the wealthy need a plan has permeated our society for decades. The truth of the matter is that everyone can benefit from an estate plan.

Why Do I Need An Estate Plan You Say?

Allow me to enlighten you. I have a friend whose mother had an unexpected stroke at a younger age. She was the primary caretaker for the family, and while she was in the hospital, none of the bills could be paid because she was the only one authorized to access the financials. So not only was the family dealing with the emotions of having Mom in the hospital, but the house was nearing foreclosure, the car was nearing repossession, and utilities were being shut off, all because no estate plan was in place.

In the end, large court costs and needless expenses had to be endured in order to set things straight. The Mom is still recovering from the stroke, and luckily, she still has a house to call home. Much of the side stress involved with unexpected medical emergencies or accidents can be completely avoided with a proper estate plan. A simple power of attorney would have allowed a designated person to continue to pay bills as Mom would have.

Simply adding someone to your bank account is a possible solution, but a very bad one. A skilled attorney can guide you through all of your options.

Unfortunately, most people don’t realize they need an estate until it’s too late. Once it’s too late, you can’t go back. Plan for the future now, so you can enjoy the present today.

Looking for an estate planning attorney? Reach out to a skilled lawyer at Althaus Law, in Thornton, regarding your plans for the future in Colorado.

Estate Planning for Young Couples

Young Couples and Estate Planning in Colorado

All too often younger couples and families put off estate planning because they falsely believe they do not need it. Maybe you believe it is an expense that can wait or that is just altogether unnecessary. This could not be farther from truth. There are many essential benefits that individuals are unaware of when it comes to estate planning.

At Althaus Law, we help young couples in Colorado prepare for the future so they can rest easy knowing everything is setup correctly and in order.

What Would Happen To Your Children If Something Happened To You? 

A parent’s desire to protect their children and make sure they have all the benefits the parent can offer is at the top of every mom and dad’s list. Unfortunately, this list usually doesn’t include estate planning even though it is the number one way to easily protect your entire family should anything happen to you.

It’s hard to think about, but couples usually get involved in accidents together. What would happen to your kids if both you and your spouse were incapacitated, or worse? Setting up guardianships for your children can answer this question immediately and make you feel secure knowing your kids are protected life.

Giving Your Spouse The Ability To Make Financial And Medical Decisions

Many people incorrectly assume that their spouse can simply step in and handle everything should the other spouse become incapacitated. This is not true. All jointly owned property will require the signature of both spouses should any major decisions need to be made. An incapacitated spouse can’t very well sign anything. A power of attorney in your spouse’s name resolves this issue in a snap.

As far as medical decisions go, doctors can defer to closely related people in your network, including your spouse, parents and siblings, but they don’t have to. Many states have statutes with a list of individuals that a doctor should consult … Colorado is not one of those states. Having a medical power of attorney ensures that your spouse will have the total authority to make critical decisions, and should you both be incapacitated, it will designate another trusted person who can act on your behalf.

Being Young Doesn’t Make You Invincible

Don’t wait any longer to start protecting your family. Just because you are a young couple doesn’t mean you are invincible. Consult with Jeff at Althaus Law today to start planning for and protecting your future.

What is portability? Simply put, it means that now spouses can pass their estate and gift tax exemption to each other when the first one passes. In 2014, the federal estate tax exemption is $5,340,000. That’s a lot tax-free exemption to pass to your spouse.

So what exactly does portability mean when referring to estate planning in Colorado? To answer that question we begin with the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (TRUIRJCA) and the American Tax Relief Act of 2013 (ATRA). Mouth fulls, I know, but hear me out. The former created portability and the ladder makes it pretty much permanent. This is good news folks!

Need An Example?

Let’s use this in an example to make it easier to understand. Let’s say husband H and wife W have $7,000,000 to their names. Unfortunately, H dies and does not create any trusts that use his federal estate exemption. Fortunately, due to the unlimited marital deduction, all of the assets pass tax free to W. Now let’s look at what happens when W dies. She can use her 5,340,000 federal estate exemption AND, with the newer laws, can still utilize H’s unused federal estate tax exemption of $5,340,000. This means that since the 10,680,000 exemption that W now has is greater than her $7,000,000 estate, she pays ZERO dollars in estate tax. Woohoo,  nice work!

Without portability, W would have lost H’s unused exemption and ended up paying estate taxes on $1,660,000 (7,000,000 – 5,340,000). You must make sure to make an election shortly after the first spouse passes or you will lose out on this huge tax-savings benefit.

Give Us A Call

Questions? Wondering if portability or credit shelter trusts are better for you? Contact Althaus Law for more info.