Category: Probate

Resolve to Complete Your Estate Plan

The new year brings excitement, opportunity and resolutions. Often people resolve to complete their estate plan in the coming year. Given that most people do not have a current, integrated and HIPAA compliant plan, that is a great resolution.

So how do you get started? Start by watching this video, especially if you have a family:

Your goal should be to have an integrated and HIPAA compliant plan. To learn what plan is right for you and your family, call our office today at 303-688-3535 to schedule your in depth estat planning assessment. You’ll be glad you did.

The Gift of Estate Planning

Many articles have been published about the gift of estate planning. In fact, it is one of the most important gifts you can give to your family and loved ones. A well crafted estate plan represents part of your legacy and how you will be remembered. How you would like to be remembered when you are gone and does your estate plan reflect those wishes?

Why can estate planning be such important gift for your family? Consider these benefits your family receives from your well thought out plan:

1. Protection for your spouse from creditors and predators. Are you leaving a plan which exposes your spouse to risk or protects them?

2. Protection of children from the over indulgence of youth, protection from creditors and protection against predators. Does your plan for your children provide these protections?

3. Inclusion of grandchildren or other family members who are disabled. Such issues should be considered in every plan. Are they addressed i yours?

4. Asset and probate planning. Do your assets create problems and are these issues addressed in your estate plan?

5. HIPAA compliance. Protection of your health information is important in our electronic age. Is your entire plan and all documents HIPAA compliant? If not it needs to be.

6. How recently have your reviewed your plan? Plans older than 5-7 years may create unexpected traps and negative results for your family. Has your plan been reviewed recently?

Does your current plan provide these benefits to your family? Now you know why estate planning is one of the best gifts for your family not only at the holiday season but also year round.

The Importance of Proper Beneficiary Designations

In estate planning the details matter. In fact they matter so much that the tiniest of details can derail your entire plan. A good example of that is your beneficiary designations.

Family Lawyer Castle Rock

Beneficiary designations can be on things like bank accounts, insurance policies, IRA’s and brokerage accounts. The key question is are your beneficiary designations synchronized with your estate plan? If they are not then your estate plan can fail.

To avoid the inadvertent failure of your plan, work with your estate planning attorney to check each beneficiary designation to ensure coordination with your estate plan.

3 (Of Many) Reasons Why Estate Planning is Not Only for the Wealthy

Before I became an estate planning, I did not fully understand the importance of having an estate plan.  I thought that estate planning was only for the wealthy.  Nothing can be further from the truth!
So, here are 3 reasons why you should consider meeting with an estate planning attorney, regardless of your wealth:
1. You have children under the age of 18.
A good estate plan protects your children from an uncertain future.  For example, a comprehensive estate plan for families with young children will include an Appointment of Guardian, which allows you to nominate a guardian to care for your children when you die or become incapacitated and are unable to care for them.  They also include an Authorization for Care of Minor Children, which allows you to appoint an another adult to temporarily care for and make decisions on behalf of your minor children when you are on vacation, unavailable, or become incapacitated.
2. To appoint decision makers to take care of you and your finances should you become unable to do so.
Not all estate planning concerns death.  For example, power of attorney documents are important estate planning tools.  These documents allow you to name people you trust (agents) to make medical and financial decisions for you while you alive, but are unable, or don’t want to, make such decisions for yourself.
3. The State in which you live has already created an estate plan for you.
All 50 states, and the District of Columbia, have laws that dictate how your property will be distributed after you die.  These laws are called the laws of intestacy and apply when you die without a will.  These laws may not match how you want your property to be distributed after your death.
Greta Suneson

Is Your Estate Plan HIPAA Compliant?

HIPAA compliance runs through most of our daily lives and activities. Having an estate plan which is HIPAA compliant is now mandatory in order for your wishes to be carried out.

Here are some things to check in your documents:

  • Are the documents dated prior to 2010? Older documents are often not HIPAA Compliant.
  • Do your documents mention HIPAA? If they don’t the documents are not compliant.
  • Are HIPAA Personal Representatives named? If not then the documents are not HIPAA compliant.

K&G can review your plan documents to ensure effective compliance. Contact our office at 303-688-3535 to schedule an estate plan review meeting today.

Let’s Talk – Probate Litigation Among Family Members Can Break More than the Bank

As our parents age, bonds with our siblings and extended family members become even more important.  Our parents need us to work collaboratively when they can no longer speak for themselves. Unfortunately, it is during stressful times like these that family members lose sight of what is important – their incapacitated parent.

Here is the story we often hear as lawyers:  Mom had no estate plan because she knew that her children would work things out should something happen to her.  Mom was the glue that kept the family together. Mom never thought there might come a time when she would be unable to make decisions about to her health or her money.

If it is too late for a loved one to appoint medical and financial agents due to incapacity, talk to your lawyer about how your family can work collaboratively to make the best decisions for Mom.  When there is disagreement and conflict about where Mom should live, or who should take care of Mom’s bills, adult children often want to run to the court house to battle it out.

Before you do, take the time to have meaningful discussions with your siblings and family members about where Mom would have wanted to live if given the choice; how Mom would have wanted to be treated, medically or otherwise, if she still had a voice; and talk to your attorney if you need help facilitating these often difficult discussions.
Your attorneys have tools and strategies, as well as access to a network of psychologists, family-facilitators, and other professionals, to help you to resolve these conflicts. 

Ask yourself, are the exorbitant costs of litigation and the destruction of your family worth the fight in court. While in some cases litigation is necessary, first, let’s talk.