Monday-Friday from 9-5
1425 Hawk Parkway #5
Montrose, CO 81401
Actually, not everyone needs a will. I always try to find the best solution for my clients and sometimes no solution is the best option. However, if you own property, or your assets add up to more than $70,000, a will is an act of kindness for your family after you pass.
Do I really need a will?
A typical range is two to six weeks. This is affected by the level of complexity involved, how quickly we’re able to communicate, and whether the clients need time to reflect on the necessary decisions. We can also expedite this process for urgent situations. Please let us know if your situation is urgent.
How long will this take?
I get it, estate planning isn’t exactly a fun thing to spend money on. Options like Legal Zoom are enticing. I believe that good estate planning is an act of kindness for your family. It’s a way to simplify a necessary process in a moment of grief. I want estate planning to be accessible. I publish my prices because I want my clients to feel confident when they walk into my office that they won’t be blindsided. Having a good estate plan means you’ve taken actions to avoid probate and especially avoid a contested probate. The cost of estate planning is far less than the cost of a contested estate administration. The bottom line is an estate plan without an attorney is a gamble. I’ve seen a few work out, but most often I’ve seen them be disastrous.
Can’t I just use Legal Zoom?
Colorado law can take some unexpected turns when it comes to dying without a will, also known as intestacy. This is especially true for younger people whose parents are still alive when they pass. The nuances of intestacy play out differently for everyone, depending on their personal situation. Intestacy isn’t as straightforward as you would expect, it’s something we’re happy to discuss during an estate planning meeting.
Won’t everything just go to my spouse?
Probate is a process where the courts get involved in the distribution of your assets after you pass. It opens the door to anyone that wants a forum to air their grievances and it postpones distribution of your assets. It requires a whole lot of court forms and documentation. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. There are simple steps we can build into your estate plan to avoid probate.
I keep hearing the term Probate Avoidance, what is that?
A will is the more simple and traditional approach to estate planning. It revolves around the will which only goes into effect after death. Once you pass, a court will typically appoint a personal representative who is then responsible for retitling and distributing assets. A trust is a bit more involved in the beginning. A trust exists while you’re still alive. It’s almost like having a business because you can title assets into the trust. Then when you pass away, the trust is simply managed by a trustee who follows your instructions. Note: both of these are broad simplifications. Trusts and wills can play out in many different ways.
What’s the difference between a will and a trust?
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s fantastic that so many people are talking about estate planning in the mainstream. So many clients come in with a real sense of how important estate planning is. It’s a great place to start from. One of the great things about Colorado law is that there are ways to estate plan and avoid probate that don’t necessarily involve a trust. We have simplified and low-cost options here in Colorado. Of course, a trust is always available, but for most people it just isn’t necessary.
I watch a lot of Suze Orman/Dave Ramsey/Finance Tik Tok and their advice is to put everything in a trust, can you help?
The most important thing to do is to take a deep breath. A really good deep breath. Grief can be heavy. The expectation that family members will immediately jump into action just isn’t realistic or necessary. The only thing that really needs to be addressed immediately is securing the home and removing perishable trash. Try to locate the will. Oftentimes the will has information about burial preference that may be helpful in the immediate days. If the original will is found, be sure it is kept safe. That’s honestly where you want to start. The rest can be addressed after a few days have passed. Once the shock has worn off, you may want to contact an attorney to assist you. You may also go here to find instructions from the court on how to proceed: Colorado Judicial Branch - Self Help - Forms - Trusts, Estates, Wills All Probate Instructions and Forms.
My loved one just passed away, I have no idea what to do.