Estate Planning FAQs

The following information is NOT legal advice nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. Each individual’s circumstances are different and the information below is general in nature.  Should you have specific questions about your particular circumstances, you should contact an attorney.

Do I need a will or a trust?

Wills and trusts are both effective estate planning tools. The best option for you will depend on your particular circumstances and goals.

A will is a document that nominates who will receive your property and assets upon your death.  In Colorado, wills typically go through probate.

A trust is a document that allows a third party (trustee) to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary.  The trust specifies when and how the beneficiary receives the assets.  A trust can be an effective tax saving tool and you can avoid probate.  Avoiding probate expedites the beneficiary’s access to assets.

What is the difference between a general durable power of attorney and a medical durable power of attorney?

Both general and medical durable powers of attorney become effective when you become incapacitated and incapable of making decisions for yourself.

A general durable power of attorney gives your nominated person (an agent) the ability to make financial decisions on your behalf.

A medical durable power of attorney gives your nominated person (an agent) the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Do I need a guardianship document?

A guardianship document is a valuable estate planning tool that tells your family, friends, and potentially a court of law, your wishes related to guardianship of your minor children upon your death.

Can I change my estate plan once it is made?

Updating an estate plan is something you should consider on a routine basis.  As time passes, there may be changes in wealth, property and personal relationships and your estate plan documents should reflect your changing desires and wishes relative to these changes.

Can I avoid probate?

Under Colorado law if you die intestate (without a will or estate plan) and you have assets to pass to your heirs, your estate must go through probate. If you die and you have a will, your estate may avoid probate depending on how your assets are titled, the size of your estate and some other factors.  There are various ways to set up your estate plan to avoid probate.