Estate Planning: What You Need to Do

a lawyer talking to her clients

a lawyer talking to her clientsA will is important because it gives you peace of mind. When the time comes, you’ll know your loved ones will receive their share of your assets in Colorado and that a designated person will honor your final wishes. While you’re not legally required to use a lawyer for your will, the expertise of estate planning attorneys will provide valuable strategies and ensure your will is legally binding.
As a start, you can use the following basic guidelines:

Sign your will with valid witnesses

Who is a valid witness to signing a will? One, not your beneficiaries because this could mean a conflict of interest. Two, not the lawyer drafting your will. Outside of two, you can pick anyone to witness the signing of your will. You should also get your witness to do a self-proving affidavit with a notary because the document can speed up the probate process. A judge would not have to call your witness (or witnesses) in court to validate signatures on your will.

Protect your estate with a living trust

A revocable living trust can become a good option to the typical will because it provides instructions while you’re still alive. The document authorizes someone to manage your estate and your finances if you can no longer do it. The living trust is also a good way to avoid probate and keep your information about your estate private. Once a will goes to court, its public domain and anyone can find out what your assets are worth and which beneficiaries received an inheritance.

Settle your bills, taxes, and debts

Your will needs to leave instructions for paying off debts and other financial obligations. This includes which assets should go toward paying what you owe. Your executor can ensure payment of all outstanding debts before any of your assets go to beneficiaries.

Mortality isn’t an ideal subject in any conversation, but it’s worth thinking about to avoid future problems over your estate. A document detailing which person should get which asset can give you that peace of mind.