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Legal Briefs – Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Estate planning mistakes can be expensive and happen to even the most thorough of people.  This is a list of common estate planning mistakes we have either seen or gathered from sources. Not having an estate plan.  What would be a list of planning mistakes if we did not start with the most obvious and […]

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The Best Argument for a Revocable Trust – My Mother

Do you really need a revocable trust estate plan?  We have no hard and fast rule on this subject because there are additional upfront costs and then continuing costs of a revocable trust plan.  The continuing costs revolve around making sure certain assets are in the revocable trust or made payable to the revocable trust […]

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Colorado Prenuptial Agreement

Colorado Prenuptial Agreement A Colorado prenuptial agreement allows couples to agree in advance about how property is to be split upon divorce. Without a Colorado prenuptial agreement, the Colorado courts decide how property will be divided upon divorce. Colorado is a separate property state. In a separate property state, property is typically “owned” by the […]

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Colorado Joint Power of Attorney

We often get asked to name multiple children, jointly, on medical powers of attorney, financial powers of attorney and as trustees. While there are legitimate reasons why clients want to name joint power holders, be aware of the potential costs.

Stand Alone Retirement Account Trusts

I have been drafting estate plans for about twenty years. For about twenty years, I have successfully avoided making trusts the beneficiary of retirement accounts, save for a few occasions. However, recent federal court cases stripping the asset protection benefits of inherited Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) have put an end to that streak. Protecting retirement accounts from a beneficiary’s creditors requires a stand-alone retirement account trust.

Redefining Basic Estate Planning

Over the past thirty years, much is changed in how we do just about everything. Doctors practice medicine much differently. Buildings are made with newly invented and better materials. The internet and cell phones have forever altered how we communicate and access information. But yet, ask a lawyer about a basic estate plan or simple will, and I bet the answer today is the same as it was 30 years ago. Perhaps it is time for some change to better protect even small amounts of family wealth.

The (Dreaded) Estate Planning Questionnaire And Why It Is So Important

Short answer: It’s about the money. Little longer answer: The estate planning questionnaire tells your estate planning attorney what type of plan may be best for you and can save many hours in attorney time upon your death.

Estate and Gift Tax Planning in 2013

The 2013 federal estate tax exemption was set to fall to $1 million per individual on January 1, 2013. Much to everyone’s surprise, Congress set the 2013 federal estate tax exemption at $5.25 million per individual and indexed that rate to inflation. The top federal tax rate on estates is now 40%.

Deceased Spouse Estate Tax Exemption Portability (DSUEA) – Friend or Foe?

Along with other temporary estate and gift tax changes in 2011 and 2012, Congress made a deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exemption portable. At first glance, this sounds like a good thing. However, most married couples would be better off just pretending that this so-called benefit doesn’t exist. Here is why.

Legal Briefs – Estate and Gift Tax Update

The year is almost over and a new tax year is almost upon us. Below are some highlights of the temporary estate and gift tax rules for the remainder of 2011 and 2012. The key word is “temporary”. Absent action by Congress, these provisions will expire on January 1, 2013.