When it comes time for couples to consider estate planning, there are several aspects of it that must be looked at and decided on. Below are 16 points of estate planning that you and your spouse may need to address, depending on your situation.
Preserving the Estate on the Second Death: If a spouse changes their will on a second marriage, it is possible that the children of the first marriage will not get anything. This happens because the first spouse’s children from a prior marriage did not inherit; their parent’s spouse got everything. That person may well remarry and leave everything to their new spouse, not to their stepchildren from a prior marriage. To avoid this problem, communicate, use a marital agreement, use life insurance, consider QTIP trusts.
Life Insurance: You may want to get a life insurance policy to protect your children from a prior marriage, naming them or a trust protecting them if they are minors, as the beneficiary of that policy. This way you protect “yours” from the scenario set forth in No. 1. Continue reading “Yours, Mine & Ours: Estate Planning for Married Couples”
Oftentimes, people don’t think about estate planning until they’re married. But the reality is that estate planning is just as important — and in some instances more important — when you are in a relationship but not married and especially if you are not planning to be married. Here are eight reasons why estate planning is important for unmarried couples.
1. Giving Each Other the Right to Inherit: In many unmarried relationships, neither partner is entitled to inherit under the Colorado laws of intestacy. This means that if either of you dies without a will, all property that passes through probate will go to any current spouse, children of the deceased, parents of the deceased then siblings (that is a general summation). You’ll notice that romantic partner is not on this list. If you want to protect your partner, you need a will to do it.
2. Defining Whether You are Married: In Colorado, you may be “common law” married without even knowing it. This is an issue of fact in Colorado and a short consultation is the best way to go over the facts in your case. If you are at risk of being common law married without having the intention to be married, a cohabitation agreement is in order. Remember that if you are “married,” then you have rights to inherit. Continue reading “Why Estate Planning is Critical for Unmarried Couples”
I’m so excited to share with all of you this new video about my family law practice in Littleton, Colorado. I was fortunate to team up with Denver Film & Digital to create a brief video that encompasses what Andersen Law PC is all about.
I work hard to stand out among other Colorado family law attorneys and believe that my own experiences of working in big, New York City law firms and then going through my own divorce have helped make me the family law and divorce attorney that I am today. Continue reading “Learn About Littleton Family Law Practice Andersen Law PC (Video)”
I believe in people drafting their own legal documents but NOT their own wills using online programs and forms. As much as I want to empower people to take ownership and participate in their legal issues, I find this option to be a horrible disaster. And I have good reason for saying this: I have seen the absurd and unfortunate results of poorly drafted wills that are often unenforceable or lead to results that are the opposite of what the drafter intended.
Here are some of the unfortunate results I have seen when people tried to probate wills they drafted themselves:
– A will intended to leave real estate to the children and grandchildren but actually required that the real estate be sold.
– A will that gave all property to the party’s ex-spouse’s children when the intention was to exclude them.
– A will that mixed up the husband and wife’s names.
– A will that might be unenforceable in the event of simultaneous deaths due to both parties allegedly predeceasing each other.
– Many wills that were unenforceable due to improper witnessing.
Our estate planning package is highly affordable: $500 for a testamentary will with a springing trust for any children or grandchildren, medical durable power of attorney, financial power of attorney and living will. The same package is only $750 for a couple. This includes an initial meeting, supervised signing of the estate planning documents with objective third party witnesses provided by our arrangement, and a follow up re-signing in the event you want to make small changes. This is a price point many people can afford and helps ensure your estate planning accomplishes what you REALLY hope to achieve.
Thinking about death and leaving loved ones behind is never easy and is unfortunately, something that many people put off because it’s just not a pleasant thought. But it is important and something people have been facing through the writing of wills since the earliest days of written history, according to the American Bar Association. Writing a will is imperative to easing the stress on your family as much as possible if something should happen to you, and it can give everyone (yourself included) peace of mind knowing there is a plan in place.
Done correctly, wills go far in ensuring that your assets are directed where you want them to be and that any possible disputes between surviving family members are minimized because all matters of your estate are clearly addressed.
When you’ve decided that it’s time to prepare a will, here are a few things to consider:
- What type of funeral do you want?
- Who will manage your money, debts and health care decisions?
- What will happen to your home?
- Who will care for your children and what are those caregivers’ names and addresses?
- What are your main assets?
- Are there gifts of personal property you want to leave to specific people?
Estate planning, including not only wills, but trusts and living wills are a specialty of mine, and I offer these packages at an affordable rate of $500 per person or $750 per couple. I encourage you to please contact me if you’d like to learn more.