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- Do I need to update my estate planning documents?
- You should have your estate plan reviewed and/or updated at least every five years to reflect changes in the law, if you move to a new state, and upon major life events, such as a marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child.
- My loved one passed away, can I continue managing their accounts and affairs as their Power of Attorney?
- A Power of Attorney terminates upon passing, so the authority granted through that Power of Attorney ends. Accounts can be managed after passing if you are appointed the Personal Representative by the probate court.
- I do not have a Medical Power of Attorney, but I trust that my spouse would make these decisions for me.
- In Colorado, your spouse does not have automatic priority to make your health care decisions during your incapacity. If you would like your spouse or loved one to make your health care decisions if you were to be incapacitated you should consider executing a Medical Power of Attorney.
- I need a Will so that my family can avoid probate.
- Many individuals are under the impression that a Will avoids probate. This is an incorrect statement because Wills are filed with the probate court and do become public record after the individual’s passing.
- What is Probate?
- Probate is the process of getting assets out of the name of the person who passed away, paying their creditors, and making distributions to their beneficiaries. Colorado has three types of Probate:Small Estate Probate: For individuals who passed away without real estate and less than $70,000 in probate assets.Informal Probate: For individuals who passed away with real estate* and/or more than $70,000 in probate assets. This type of probate may be used if there is a valid Will and no one is contesting anything regarding the estate.Formal Probate: For individuals who passed away with either real estate* and/or more than $70,000 in probate assets. This type of probate is used when there is not a valid Will or an individual is contesting a matter regarding the estate.*Real estate held in joint tenancy can transfer to the joint owner by right of survivorship and this type of real estate ownership does not cause probate to be opened.
- My ex-spouse is listed as the beneficiary of some of my accounts, can I update my Will so that he/she will not receive anything upon my passing?
- Your Will only governs assets that do not have a beneficiary listed on the account and assets that are not in joint ownership. Thus, you must update the beneficiaries on your accounts to reflect your current wishes, as updating your Will will have no affect on accounts with named beneficiaries.