Welcome! Wills & Wellness is an estate planning and probate law firm serving Colorado. A little about our firm:
- We do everything on a flat fee basis, agreed to in advance.
- We help you proactively create an estate plan. If you plan ahead, you have a multitude of options to make the future predictable for your family.
- We value relationships with our clients. Your family will grow, you’ll acquire more assets, and key people listed in your plan will have life changes.
- We stay in touch with you and help ensure your plan is maintained over time to keep up with life’s inevitable changes.
And we help in key areas of your life:
- Guardianship: What about short-term emergencies? What if you name a couple as guardian, but they later get divorced?
- Will and Trust Planning: Who gets what, under what conditions? How can you avoid the probate court? What if minor children are named as beneficiaries?
- Legacy Planning: Capture your insights, values, stories, and experiences to pass down to your children and grandchildren.
- Non-Traditional Planning: You don’t have to be married to enjoy basic estate planning protections.
- Incapacity Planning: If you’re ill or injured you may need assistance keeping up with financial obligations or making medical decisions.
- Pet Guardianship: Your four-legged friends are like family – We can help protect them, too!
- Special Needs Planning: A special needs child can get the best of both worlds – public benefits plus their inheritance.
- Estate Administration & Probate: We work closely with families who experience the loss of a loved one to navigate through the process.
- Planning for Minor Children
According to one U.S., census poll, there are 287,262 households in Denver. Only some of those households have done estate planning. Unfortunately, that can be a costly mistake. In addition to having your assets go to an undesired individual, you could create a headache for your loved ones.
If you want to ease the financial burden of your loved ones and leave your estate in good hands, you need an estate planning attorney in Denver. Here at Wills and Wellness Estate Planning, we can handle all of your planning.
What is Estate Planning?
When some people hear the term “estate planning,” they think of it as something only rich people do. But this is far from the truth. Almost everyone owns an estate, and almost everyone can benefit from estate planning.
An estate includes everything owned by an individual. For instance, your car, your checking account, and even your furniture are all parts of your estate. Considering that Denver residents have an average of two cars per household, you could assume that there are many people with estates in the city.
Regardless of the size of your estate, you need to decide what to do with it after you pass away. You can’t take it with you, and your loved ones can’t assume who gets what. If you have wishes for your estate, you need to detail those wishes in a legal document. That document could be in the form of a will or a living revocable trust.
What Does Estate Planning Include?
Estate planning is the process of creating instructions for your assets. However, it isn’t only about money. Your plan can include details regarding:
- Who raises your children and handles their money
- Who will make decisions on your behalf if you become mentally or physically unable to do so
- The way in which your children will receive the money allocated to them
- Who receives specific assets and how much they receive
- Ways to protect your estate from creditors
- Business transfers after your death
- Following procedures that minimize taxes on your estate
- Ways to avoid taxes on your estate, which can be done through a trust
Two of the most common types of estate planning instruments are wills and trusts. Trusts come with the advantage of avoiding taxes, preventing certain aspects of probate, and limiting the chance of court challenges. However, they tend to require in-depth knowledge of estate planning.
It’s important to note that estate planning is not a one-time thing. Rather, it’s something that needs to be revisited often. As situations in your life change, you may want to adjust your will or trust.
Benefits of Estate Planning
There are several reasons you should consider estate planning. By working with an attorney to redistribute your assets, you and your loved ones can benefit in all of the following ways:
1. Keep Your Assets in the Right Hands
You might not have many assets to leave behind. However, you probably have something. And you need to do estate planning to have those assets go to the right people.
For instance, you might want your assets to go to your sister. Without a will or trust, there’s no way to ensure that will happen. Other family members could argue over their right to your assets. Because you’re not around to fight for what you want, someone else besides your sister could get the money.
When there is no clear will or trust, the decision gets left in the hands of the court. Unfortunately, they can’t know what you wanted. There are no guarantees the court will choose the right beneficiary. In fact, they may not even choose to give a surviving spouse all of the assets. You need a will to specify your wishes, and only then can you know your loved ones will be cared for upon your death.
2. Look After Your Children
If you and your partner pass away at an early age, your children would be left without a parent. And although you can’t take away the pain they will feel, you can secure their future.
For one, you can assign them with an appropriate guardian. Your estate planning includes choosing a guardian. As you go through the selection process, you can look for someone who shares your values and beliefs. You should talk to your prospective guardian first and ensure they are up for the challenge.
When both parents pass away and there is no named guardian, the court makes the final decision. This could leave your children with a guardian of whom you disapprove.
3. You Can Prevent Taxes from Cutting Your Assets
Whether you have a small or large estate, the IRS can greatly decrease the value of your assets. Between state taxes and federal taxes, your loved ones could lose thousands or millions of dollars.
By estate planning, you can prepare for those taxes. There are certain ways in which you may be able to avoid excessive taxation. But it all needs to be done before you pass away. Common ways of avoiding taxation include giving gifts, making charitable donations, and making Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts. Of course, not all of the methods will work for you. You should speak with an attorney to learn more about how you can avoid taxation on your estate.
4. Prevent Disputes
After death, a family has a lot of healing to do. Unfortunately, battles over assets can make that healing even more difficult. Often, arguments over an estate cause rifts between family members. Although the court will reach a decision, the relationships may never be the same.
If you have a legal document that details the distribution of your estate, you can prevent arguments. There’s no questioning who receives your assets, and you can keep your family close.
Do You Need an Estate Planning Attorney in Denver?
You could do estate planning on your own. However, it’s a complicated process. And one mistake could mean all of your work was for nothing. If you leave out an important detail or fail to complete your will properly, your estate could end up in the wrong hands. Or, the assets could be tied up until the court decides on a fair decision.
Here at Wills and Wellness Estate Planning, we have years of experience helping others secure the future of their loved ones. We know how much it matters to have your wishes carried out, and we can walk you through the planning process.
If you’re ready to get started, contact us today.