When you think of assets, what comes to mind? Real estate properties? Other monetary investments? What about people?
In the world of asset protection, we often only think of monetary assets and assume that if we don’t have a lot of those, we don’t really need an estate plan. What many fail to understand is how estate planning protects not only their monetary assets, but also their human assets.
Even those with the best intentions often overlook or postpone estate planning, sometimes until it is too late. For those who do wish to be proactive, knowing which elements are applicable to their goals and circumstances can be confusing and overwhelming. After all, planning for the worst isn’t necessarily an easy topic to consider in the first place.
Because people’s circumstances can vary so wildly, estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Some may opt for simple wills, while others prefer a more nuanced approach, such as complex trusts. Which direction is right for you? As a leading provider of estate planning services in Denver, we’re here to help you narrow down the options with your unique interests at heart!
What is an Estate Plan?
An estate is a legal term that refers to the property and assets owned by someone at the time of his or her death. This includes:
- Real Estate
- Personal Property
- Bank Accounts
- Retirement Plans
- Life Insurance Policies
- And More
An estate plan is a written document that spells out how an individual wants his or her property and assets to be distributed upon death. A will is the most basic element of an estate plan and most people assume it’s the only thing they need, but there are other tools that can accomplish far more than a will alone can provide. For example, a trust may be used instead of a will when it’s important to keep certain properties or assets separate from another person (such as children), or when it’s necessary to avoid probate court proceedings.
Different Kinds of Estate Plans
Here are some of the items you may want to consider for your estate plan:
- A Will – This is the simplest form of estate planning; a will plainly states who gets what and can also designate someone to manage your estate in the case of your death.
- Organ Donation – You may also wish to specify whether you want your body donated for medical research, where you want your funeral service to be held, and whether you would like to be an organ donor, and if so, for what specific purposes. By signing a specific document memorializing your desire, you clearly and legally evidence your intent.
- Trusts – Trusts are similar to wills, except that they allow you to transfer property into them before you die, among other useful functions. Unlike a will, a trust does not require a court hearing to validate its terms. Instead, a trustee administers the trust according to its terms.
- Living Wills – Living wills are documents that spell out your preferences regarding medical treatments you may or may not want in the case of a terminal condition resuscitation, and other medical wishes. They are usually signed by both you and your healthcare provider.
- Powers of Attorney – These are documents that legally authorize a designated person the power to act on your behalf. A financial power of attorney allows them to make decisions regarding your finances, selling property, and handling your investments. A medical power of attorney appoints an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot make these decisions for yourself. If you don’t have a medical power of attorney document, the decision automatically goes to your spouse. If you are unmarried, then the decision goes to adult children, parents, or other parties that a judge deems appropriate. What to Know About Estate Planning Services in Denver
The first thing you need to know about estate planning is that it’s not just for wealthy people. Many people don’t have any kind of estate plan at all because they believe they don’t have enough assets to justify it, or because they think they can’t afford it. But if you pass away without having made legal decisions, then your loved ones could be left with the burden of making difficult decisions about your medical care, your finances, and even your business without guidance from you. Without a will, state laws and a judge may decide who receives your property and cares for your children, respectively. your assets could get tied up in a lengthy probate process, during which your heirs must prove that they are legally entitled to inherit your belongings. During this period, your heirs cannot access your funds or sell off your possessions. This can be extremely time-consuming and expensive to resolve. Not to mention it leaves your family hung out to dry, especially if they rely on you for any kind of support.
With the right kind of estate planning services, you’ll gain the assurance that your estate is taken care of and that your wishes will be honored once you pass away. You can also enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t be leaving your loved ones to deal with the stressful burden of medical and financial decisions at an already painful time, should you become ill or pass away. This is called protecting your human assets.
Through consultation with an estate planning professional, you will narrow down the right type of estate plans for your needs and set in stone the necessary arrangements so your possessions are bequeathed to the right people or organizations.
Get Everything in Line with Our Estate Planning Services in Denver
Simply put, estate planning is an act of love. If you’re interested in making sure that your loved ones are protected, please consider hiring an estate planner. At Fusion Legal & Tax, we offer a unique combination of financial, legal, and tax services that you can’t find anywhere else. All of our services are overseen by a certified tax attorney and several CPAs. In addition, we have a robust team that will be available to answer any and all questions you might have.
Start preparing for the future with Fusion Legal & Tax and contact us today.