What is Colorado Estate Planning
Colorado Estate Planning is simply stating, in advance, who you want to make decisions for you in case you cannot make decisions for yourself and who you want to receive your assets. The following documents can make up your estate plan:
- Colorado Living Trust
- Colorado Will
- Colorado Financial Power of Attorney
- Colorado Medical Power of Attorney
- Colorado Living Will
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Release
An estate plan comprising all of the documents above is a base estate plan. Meaning, an individual should at least have the documents listed above. Additional documents like a Life Insurance Trust, a Stretch IRA Trust or other advanced estate planning documents may benefit some people; but, everybody would benefit from having at a bare minimum the documents provided above.
A Colorado Will performs three important objectives. First, it designates who will receive your assets (instead of Colorado law deciding who receives the assets). Second, it appoints individuals to serve as your Personal Representative, those who wraps up your affairs upon your passing. Third, if you have minor or disabled children, it enables you to designate who will be the Guardian and/or Conservative of such children.
A Colorado Financial Power of Attorney enables you to designate who you want to manage your financial affairs when you are unable or unavailable. By having a Financial Power of Attorney document in place, one avoids the need for a Colorado Conservatorship. This proceeding costs around $1,500 to $2,500 and may require ongoing and annual court involvement.
A Colorado Medical Power of Attorney enables you to designate who you want to manage your medical affairs when you are unable. By having a Medical Power of Attorney document in place, one avoids the need for a Colorado Guardianship. This proceeding costs around $1,500 to $2,500 and may require ongoing and annual court involvement.
Colorado Living Wills do not direct the disposition of one’s assets. Instead, a Living Will is an Advanced Medical Directive. Colorado recently changed its laws concerning its Living Will statute to include the persistent vegetative state. Under the old law, if you were not terminally ill, the Living Will did not come into effect. Now, if you suffer from a terminal condition or a persistent vegetative state, and you need life support, you have the ability to state, in advance, through the use of a Colorado Living Will, whether you want life sustaining measures like life support to be used.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA Release) offers you the ability to list who you would like to access to your medical records and to your doctors. Many believe their family and friends who are named on their Medical Power of Attorney are covered. It is important to note that only the then acting agent has the rights under the HIPAA Release language in the Medical Power of Attorney. By having a specific HIPAA Release authorization, all the individuals you name and not just the then acting agent under your Medical Power of Attorney will have access to your doctors and medical records.
Colorado Living Trusts offers tremendous benefits. It enables the seamless transition of power and control of your assets titled in the name of the trust during your lifetime and upon your passing. It can help one avoid probate and offer tremendous asset protection for your heirs.
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