4 Reasons to Resolve to Develop an Estate Plan in 2016

On December 31, 2015

The New Year is a time for resolutions. For many people, this can mean prioritizing certain personal and financial changes for the New Year. While those resolutions can be great goals for 2016, here’s why it’s also time to include estate planning as a focus for the coming year. Why to Focus on Estate Planning in the New Year Some of the main reasons why having an effective estate plan in place is so important include that it can: Protect…
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How to Open Colorado Probate with a Will

On December 23, 2015

Following the passing of a loved one, informal or formal probate may be required to validate a will and pass the estate of a decedent onto his heirs. While informal probate may be an option when estates have minimal assets, for larger estates – or for situations when a will is being contested, formal probate may be necessary. Before Getting Started: Important Information about Colorado Probate Before filing paperwork to kickoff probate in Colorado, here are some important facts that…
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Survivors’ Checklist: 6 Immediate Steps to Take after a Death

On December 15, 2015

The death of a loved one can turn your world upside down. While grief can be overwhelming, if one person is ready to take action to prepare the estate for settlement, the following process of transferring the estate to the heirs can be resolved more efficiently. What to Do following a Death Take care of any immediate household needs – If the decedent had minor children or pets, make plans to have them cared for. For other house-related needs, like…
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4 Essential Guidelines for New Trustees: How to Get Started as a Trustee

On December 10, 2015

Serving as a trustee can be a rewarding experience. For those who have never been a trustee before, however, there can be a lot to do, as the role of trustee comes with various responsibilities. And understanding what these obligations are is critical to minimizing liability in this role – and to successfully overseeing and administering a trust. To help you get started, here are some guidelines to keep in mind as you take on your new trustee responsibilities: Your…
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How Does Portability Affect Estate Taxes?

On December 5, 2015

Since 2011 in the U.S., married couples have been able to take advantage of portability for federal estate tax purposes, allowing them to share certain unused exemptions and save on their overall estate tax obligations. Although portability is not an option for state-level estate taxes in Colorado (as of Dec. 2015), understanding how and when it can apply to federal estate tax obligations can be incredibly important to limiting future tax bills and preserving an estate for survivors. What is…
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FAQs about Estate Taxes

On November 30, 2015

Estate tax issues can be complicated. Understanding how they impact your estate can be pivotal to reducing your loved ones’ future estate tax obligations. And this can allow them to retain more of the estate you want to them to inherit. Answers about Common Estate Tax Issues Q: What assets are usually included in an estate for tax purposes? A: According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the “Gross Estate” can include probate and non-probate property, such as (but by…
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4 Primary Benefits of Trusts

On November 25, 2015

Trusts are estate planning tools that allow one party to transfer certain assets to another party via the oversight of a third party. Although trusts may not be right for every estate plan, they can have a number of benefits, including: Maintaining control of wealth – Using certain assets to fund a revocable trust can mean that these assets are still accessible to you at any point in the future if you become incapacitated. Upon your death, it also means…
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6 Major Assets to Include in an Estate Plan

On November 20, 2015

As you get started developing an estate plan, one of the first things that may need to be done is to take stock of your major assets. Understanding what these comprise can be important to appropriately preserving them for the future and your beneficiaries. For most people, the major assets to include in estate plans are: Cash and bank accounts – While cash can be directly designated to a beneficiary or used to fund a trust, bank accounts (including personal…
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How Often Should I Update My Will?

On November 15, 2015

It depends on the nature of your estate, as well as your life circumstances. We will delve into this answer more below. When to Update a Will & Estate Plan In general, it’s recommended that people review and update their wills, as needed – and their overall estate plans – every one to three years. It is also strongly advised that estate plan reviews and updates occur when: Major family changes happen – These types of changes can include the…
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How to Start a Conversation about Estate Planning

On November 10, 2015

Developing an estate plan inherently involves conversations about money and death, two sensitive topics that can be uncomfortable to discuss – even among close loved ones. Having these conversations, however, is critical because it can: Clarify the grantor’s intentions (with the grantor being the person who has made the estate plan) – Although an estate plan can include various details about powers of attorney and future asset distribution wishes, it may not necessarily reveal the grantor’s underlying wishes or reasons…
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