When you think of the word estate, what comes to mind? A $5 million home? A fleet of luxury cars? Ownership of priceless antiques?
While it is true that an estate can consist of all of these things, in reality an estate is anything you own and everything you owe at your death. It’s your net worth. It’s your personal/religious/healthcare wishes. It’s the plans you have for your children.
People of all socioeconomic statuses, job titles and marital statuses have estates that include homes, automobiles, rental properties, land, motorcycles, boats, etc. You also can own personal property that is important to you and your family such as family heirloom jewelry, sentimental objects, tools, artwork, etc.
Depending on how they are titled and whether not the accounts contain a beneficiary designation, your estate also can include your bank accounts, retirement accounts and life insurance policies. It could include businesses you own or co-own. Ultimately, these assets are weighed against your debts. When you pass away, the personal representative of your estate must assess and pay any valid credit claims which could include credit cards, mortgages, student loans and any other creditor before the beneficiaries of your estate can receive their shares of your estate.
With the right advanced planning, your estate plan can also outline how you wish to receive medical care in the event you become incapacitated. Without direction on how/when to administer resuscitation, mechanical respiration, tube feeding and other life-sustaining measures, your family will be faced with making these gut-wrenching decisions for you without knowing your wishes.
Plans for Children
Your estate plan can also designate a trusted person to provide care for your children (minors or disabled adults) if you become incapacitated or are no longer around. This is especially important if there are immediate family members that you absolutely do not want your children living with in the event you are incapacitated or deceased.
How to Protect Your Estate
So, with all of these important aspects of your life being so vulnerable, what is the best course of action to protect you and your loved ones? The simple answer is: draft a legal will or trust, and supporting documents, with the help of a Denver estate planning lawyer. An experienced attorney can advise you on drafting a living will to outline your medical care wishes as well as documents to name legal guardians, powers of attorney and other important forms to put your mind at ease.
The Denver will lawyers at Brown & Crona, LLC have the vast experience and knowledge of the legal system to know what types of documents you should have for your unique estate and family situation. To learn more or to hire a Denver estate planning attorney, please contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online.