Do You Have A Will Or A Trust? Estate Planning Is Critical To Avoid Or Shorten Probate.

October 16, 2017


The decisions regarding end-of-life arrangements can be difficult to deal with. Whatever assets you have, an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney can evaluate your financial situation and create a plan that is custom-fitted to your needs.  


There are many aspects to consider besides the financial assets such as; taxes, medical issues, business succession, heirs, directives, Power of Attorney, living wills, guardianship designation, burial instructions and trusts.


You want to ensure your family is not burdened by taxes or have to go through lengthy and expensive probate. The division of your estate can be complicated and without a will and/or estate plan, those complications are severely magnified. Your attorney will go through all areas of your life to help secure your family’s future.


Medical issues should be recognized. Luckily, most people will not have to face situations of Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s or other conditions that could render a person incapable of making decisions. However, these medical issues and your medical wishes should be covered as part of estate planning. A living will or healthcare directive allows you to make those decisions, assign another person to consult if you should become incapacitated and you can make your own end-of-life decisions including organ donation.  


One only has to be reminded of the national case of Terry Shiavo, who lingered for 15 years in a vegetative state. Terry was a victim of irreversible, massive brain damage and became a poster child for right-to-die cases. After a 12-year court battle, the court ordered her feeding tubes removed. It took 13 days for Terry to die from the court-ordered dehydration. 


If a business is involved, you will want to make sure that business will continue to operate smoothly. You may want a business exit strategy put into place in case of financial hardship, injury, disability or death. You can also put into place a family succession directive, a transfer of ownership, or a plan to sell the business. A solid, business succession plan can be set up and be a part of your will. To ensure your business succession, contact a top business attorney.


You can only imagine the complications and legal expenses incurred when there is no will. Who will inherit? There may be a spouse, ex-spouse, children, children from a previous marriage, stepchildren, relatives and/or others who could get thrown into the mix.  Almost 70% of Coloradoans do not have a will. Without a will, the state will determine (they’ll “guess”) who will get what.


Guardianships are very crucial to have in place. A guardian has the legal authority to make decisions for another person, particularly children. If you don’t have a guardian designated in your will, the state of Colorado will appoint one for you. If you should slip into a coma due to an accident, with no will, the state will choose someone to act as guardian of your children, making decisions for them.   


Another crucial reason to estate plan and have a will in place is to avoid probate. Probate occurs as a legal process to determine the validity of a will and distribute assets.  Probate can be a lengthy and expensive process to resolve issues occurring with property or inheritance. The easiest and most cost-effective solution to avoid probate (or reduce a lengthy and expensive probate process) is to have an experienced wills, trusts and estate planning attorney draft an iron-clad will, trust or estate plan for you and your family. Whether or not you should have a will or a trust depends on several factors, including the ability to avoid probate and future and current tax liabilities; an experienced estate planning attorney will review all options with you and craft the best legal outcome based on these factors. 


Gantenbein Law Firm's wills, trusts, estate planning and probate attorneys have been recognized as among the best in the Denver area and throughout Colorado. They are also experienced in tax law, to ensure all aspects of estate planning, wills, trusts and probate are not only the best choice for their clients, but also ensure the lowest tax liabilities for the situation. To schedule a consult with an estate planning, wills or trusts attorney, probate attorney, or tax attorney call 303-618-2122, or visit their website at 





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