What Exactly is an Estate Plan?
Estate planning is a term that is widely used and frequently misunderstood. A good estate plan is a set of legal documents, designed around the following mission statement:
- I want to control my property and protect my loved ones while I’m alive and well;
- I want to plan for me and my loved ones if I become mentally incapacitated; and
- When I die, I want to give what I have, to whom I want, when and how I want; and
- I want to save every last tax dollar, professional fee, and court cost possible.
In short, an estate plan is a comprehensive list of instructions that specify exactly how you want things to work throughout your lifetime and after you’re gone, making it easier for your family members to handle your affairs when you can no longer do so.
What Is The Difference Between An Estate Plan And A Will And Do I Need Both?
An estate plan is an overall plan that encompasses several documents and legal strategies, and incorporates your core values and beliefs. A will is one of the basic building blocks of an estate plan, that details what to do with your property and your minor children upon your death.
Everyone has an estate plan whether they realize it or not. You can create your own plan, or you can do nothing and let the government’s plan be your estate plan. The government’s plan is simply a set of default rules and laws governing who receives your property and takes care of your minor children on your death.
If you want to be in control of who will receive your property and raise your minor children upon your death, you need a will. If you want to let the government to be in control of those decisions, you don’t.
What Happens If Someone Passes Away Without An Estate Plan Or Even A Will?
If you die without any legal estate planning documents, the Colorado Probate Code takes over. This is the government’s long, expensive, estate plan that applies to everyone who does not do any planning for themselves. This statutory framework details exactly who will inherit everything you owned and who will take care of your minor children.
For more information on Estate Planning In The State Of Colorado, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (719) 627-5955 today.