One critical aspect of estate planning in Colorado is thoroughness. When a plan is incomplete, the components aren’t likely to cover every important contingency. Writing a will ranks as one of the most important elements, but it may not be the essential document at a particular time. After all, executing a will occurs after someone passes away. What if the testator requires assistance with his or her estate while still alive?
Aspects to consider in estate planning
Drawing up a will allows someone to choose an executor, specify the distribution of assets and make other directives. However, beware of taking this and other steps without an attorney’s assistance to ensure all the elements in the will are valid. For example, a will cannot direct changes to a beneficiary designation in a life insurance policy.
In addition to a will, a person should consider a health care proxy and a living will. In the event that the individual becomes very sick or incapacitated, these documents would provide guidance for medical decisions. The health care proxy would name someone to make decisions, and the living will would establish directives about remaining on life support and other critical health care decisions.
Other items to consider
Various other instruments may also prove useful during estate planning. For example, in some cases, a will isn’t the best way to distribute assets. Perhaps a trust would be a better method of steering managerial authority away from less-capable heirs.
It may be necessary to consider naming someone an attorney-in-fact through a power of attorney document. As a person ages, moving financial decisions and responsibilities to a trusted and capable person might be best.
Another vital element to estate planning involves putting together a comprehensive file. Deeds, legal certificates, digital passwords, information about bank accounts and other assets should all be accessible. An executor or an attorney-in-fact might require specific documents to carry out certain duties. Searching for them could create unnecessary delays.
Estate planning includes many variables. Specific documents accomplish particular functions. Working with an attorney to create all necessary documents is almost always in someone’s best interests and those of that person’s family.