This is an area of specialty for our firm. We provide estate planning services of all kinds.
- Basic Wills.
- Medical Durable Powers of Attorney and Living Wills.
- General Durable Powers of Attorney.
- Limited Powers of Attorney for all matters, including real estate and related financing.
- Testamentary trusts, Revocable Living Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Joint Trusts.
- Special Needs Trusts.
- Medicaid compliant trusts.
- Delegation of Parental Authority.
- Trust Amendments.
Our estate planning attorneys take the approach of covering your needs in the simplest and most appropriate way. We enjoy long term relationships with our clients and derive much satisfaction of assisting through the changing stages of life.
Estate planning is critical, whether your estate is large or small. Our experienced attorneys help you plan for a smooth transition of property and other assets, while minimizing the tax consequences.
Our estate planning attorneys have extensive experience with wills, trusts, probate administration, living wills, powers of attorney, and general estate planning. We also assist clients with guardianship or conservator issues. And we can assist clients in specialized areas of estate planning areas such as guardianships for incapacitated adults in Colorado.
Our estate planning attorneys are also business people, so we realize that minimizing taxes, reducing the costs of administration, and planning for the continuation or liquidation of family businesses or land also are important factors that must be considered in any estate plan.
Are you financially prepared for unexpected disability or death?
We write about this topic often, but it is critical to address before unexpected events occur. As this recent article reflects, we often (and sadly) serve clients that find themselves in the midst of cleaning up an unprepared loved one’s finances. When a loved one is sick, disabled, or has died, the last thing a caregiver or estate administrator wants to focus on is financial matters. Time for grief, support, or celebrating life is time better spent. Several important items to focus on when preparing for the unexpected are:
- Naming financial and medical powers of attorney. These agents under power of attorney can act for you while you are alive but incapacitated or unable to handle your affairs. Having these agents in place avoids the need for court involvement through guardianships and conservatorships, when the unexpected occurs.
- Create a will. All adults should have a will. This is especially important if you have minor children that cannot legally inherit from you until they reach age 21. And 21 is too often considered too young by parents we serve, in the context of inheriting substantial assets.
- Buy life insurance. Good intentions won’t provide for your family if you unexpectedly leave them behind. Replacement of income for a surviving spouse, funding for children’s care and education, and providing for gifts to charity or others cannot be accomplished without the funds.
- Organized “emergency file” information. Do you have a road map for your agent or personal representative to follow if they need to serve for you? This may include important professional contacts like CPA’s, insurance brokers, and attorneys. It also includes lists of accounts and passwords for access to finances to be managed.
- Update your estate plan. A will is not the only piece to consider. A good estate planning attorney will overview your entire life picture, to make sure the pieces all fit to accomplish your lifetime and testamentary goals.
We can assist with all of the above, and enjoy working with clients to prepare and add peace of mind to their lives. Call us at 303-688-3045 for an estate planning consultation.
Our law firm is strategically located in Castle Rock, Colorado, just a short drive from Denver or Colorado Springs and we service all aspects of Colorado estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, guardianship, conservatorship, and probate. Our Castle Rock estate planning lawyers bring to you the experience of a firm that has been serving Douglas County and the Denver front range for over 40 years. Our experienced estate lawyers can protect your rights, minimize tax consequences, and explain the best planning options available to you.
Basic estate planning involves advising clients on what documents are appropriate from wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and advance health care directives. When advising couples, our estate planning attorneys seek to understand the family issues and figure out ways to avoid conflict between beneficiaries.
Thinking of making your own changes to your will? Don’t do it. If you have had your will or other estate planning documents prepared in the past with an attorney, you should change them with an attorney as well. Maybe you have a simple change. Or maybe you want to save money. It is true that there are valid methods of changing your will on your own. However, when the legal formalities of making a change are not followed exactly, you open yourself up for confusion among your beneficiaries that can easily lead to litigation and unnecessary expense. Changing your will with a short codicil (amendment to a will) or having your will updated by a seasoned estate planning lawyer is a money saver in the long run. Even more important to many clients than money savings is the avoidance of family dispute. Families are fragile after a loved one dies and emotions can run high when confusion over inheritance sets in. Clients who undertake estate planning consistently seek to avoid leaving a burden to their family. Litigation over a will is a heavy burden to carry, at often a very difficult time, and often an expensive one. Be sure to avoid this unnecessary expense of litigating your estate, by calling our experienced estate planning attorneys. We can assist you to make changes to your will that are clear and valid.
Could you benefit from Medicaid or other long-term care planning?
Most seniors require some form of long-term care at some point, but many are unprepared for the increasing financial burdens imposed by the rising cost of such care. While Medicaid funding should be a last resort for those who are unable to finance their long-term care, the Medicaid program is the largest payer of long-term care bills in the country. More and more middle class seniors are qualifying for Medicaid benefits to cover the cost of their long-term care needs.
Medicaid regulations impose a five-year look back period, whereby an individual who disposes of assets for less than fair consideration at any time within a sixty-month period prior to filing his or her Medicaid application is subject to a period of Medicaid ineligibility. Nonetheless, Congress has also enacted spousal impoverishment provisions to help protect a healthy individuals with spouses who require long-term care benefits. Under such regulations the healthy spouse still living in the community can avoid impoverishment and protect a certain amount of resources and income from Medicaid, and his or her spouse can still qualify for Medicaid. We are equipped to review your situation and explore options for avoiding financial ruin and maximizing Medicaid eligibility such as effective “spending down” of resources, utilizing the community resource and monthly maintenance needs allowance, and setting up elective share and special needs trusts.
Under Medicaid’s recently announced 2016 SSI and Spousal Impoverishment Standards, the 2016 community spouse resource allowance is a maximum of $119,220 and a minimum of $23,844. The maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance is $2,980.50 a month and the income cap is $2,199. Medicaid’s home equity limits also remain unchanged at a minimum of $552,000 and a maximum of $828,000.
Are your beneficiary designations updated?
The New Year often brings resolutions and updated “to do” lists. You may have estate planning on your list—a new Will, considerations for use of a Trust, finally creating the Medical Durable Power of Attorney or General Durable Power of Attorney you know you should have, or executing a Living Will. Clients often overlook an important part of their estate planning, which is effective use of beneficiary designations to achiever larger planning goals. Outdated beneficiary designations can certainly cause trouble, but so can beneficiary designations to children under age 21. Failure to list a beneficiary designation at all can have major tax implications, depending on the kind of financial product or plan at issue. A solid and cohesive estate plan will include a review of beneficiary designations and best choices to meet client goals. Even if your Will or Trust is updated, you may need to review your life insurance policies, annuities, or retirement accounts to make sure you are updated across the board. Our estate planning attorneys take a thorough and cohesive approach to your planning. If you have questions about effective beneficiary designations, or about your estate plan in general, we are happy to help.
The Colorado estate planning attorneys at Folkestad Fazekas Barrick & Patoile, P.C., provide insight into options for distributing and protecting assets in advance of applying for Medicaid eligibility, and how to best respond to an unforeseen need for long-term care. Not only can we guide you through Medicaid benefits, but also various other options for long-term care planning, including long-term care insurance, and Medicare benefits. If you have any questions about Medicaid or other long-term care planning, we are happy to help.
The Douglas County estate planning attorneys at Folkestad Fazekas Barrick & Patoile, P.C., serve the Denver, Colorado, metro area with offices in Castle Rock, Douglas County, Colorado. Our Castle Rock estate planning law firm provides estate planning services throughout the State of Colorado.
For more information, please contact our Castle Rock estate planning attorneys at 303-688-3045.
Estate Planning Articles