Which is Right for Me?

The short answer to this question is that it depends entirely upon your circumstances, your priorities, and your preferences. You will decide what fits for you after you learn your options. Come talk to Kristine so she can help.

There is a current trend towards revocable living trusts, even with smaller estates, because they can allow, indeed REQUIRE, people to identify and organize their assets prior to death to be effective. They can provide asset management continuity and avoid conservatorship in the event of mental incapacity during life, avoid asset management delays upon either death or death, maintain estate details privacy, provide flexibility, and provide additional protections for beneficiaries upon death, if you choose. A trust avoids probate if properly “funded” (putting your assets into the trust). A trust can also help protect assets for beneficiaries from unintended diversion due to remarriage of a surviving spouse, the impacts of a beneficiary’s divorce and beneficiary creditors. A revocable trust can be the keystone of a robust, comprehensive estate plan.

A trust is not for everyone; a will can also be tailored to your needs. There are some differences and limitations to a will but for a less complex situation, they meet the needs of many. A will becomes effective only upon death and will need to go through a court process called probate to transfer assets. Probate in Colorado is not as difficult as in many states, although it does take time and money. In addition, probate documents are not private and are open to the public. A will cannot assist with asset management during your lifetime and will not have any impact on the need for a conservator action in the event of incapacity; however, there are some tools available to a client to give their chosen agents authority to assist them with financial matters when needed.

A good estate plan is a coordinated and comprehensive plan that can be trust-based or will-based. Both types of plans will synchronize a variety of financial documents to work in conjunction; these can include various beneficiary designations (real estate, autos), transfer on death (TOD) and paid on death (POD) designations, Durable Powers of Attorney forms specific to your needs and assets, and joint tenancies. Regardless of the type of plan you choose, all of these areas will need to be considered and addressed.