No two families have the same set of assets, the same personal dynamics or the same goals. For this reason, a one-size-fits all approach to estate planning often results in a plan that does not fit anyone, and can even cause more problems in the long run.
No matter what your age, your family circumstances or how much you own, you have interests that need to be protected. At the law firm of Wick & Trautwein, LLC, our lawyers craft wills, trusts and other estate planning documents that are designed to meet our clients' specific needs and goals. We serve individuals, families and same-sex couples in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming. We have offices conveniently located in Fort Collins, Estes Park and Windsor.
Difference Between Wills and Trusts
If you die without a will or trust in Wyoming or Colorado, state law will dictate how your assets will be distributed and who will be responsible for the administration of your estate, without regard to any of the specific nuances of your particular situation. This result may not be at all in line with what you would choose to occur.
A carefully crafted will or trust can specify what should happen to your estate after death. However, there are significant differences between a will and a trust, and it is important from the outset to determine what type of estate plan will meet your individual needs. For instance:
- A will does not come into play until after your death. It specifies how you want certain property conveyed, appoints guardians for minor children, etc.
- A trust, on the other hand, is a separate legal entity that you can use to manage your assets during your lifetime and convey property to your beneficiaries before or after your death.
- A trust is a powerful estate-planning tool that can protect your beneficiaries from predators, creditors, ex-spouses and from themselves.
- There are many different types of trusts you can use to accomplish specific goals. For example, a special-needs trust can provide assets to a person without affecting his or her eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid.
However, a will or a trust is not the only important estate planning tool. Many people go through a period of disability at some point prior to their death, and thus it is also imperative to have in place appropriate powers of attorney for financial and medical purposes, advance medical care directives and a living will (if you desire to have one). While you may assume that a parent or spouse could simply make decisions for you if you were incapacitated, that may not be the case. Without these legal documents in place, the courts may end up deciding who should make decisions for you, what should happen to your estate, who should care for your minor children, etc. Having a well-thought out estate plan can ensure that your wishes are clearly expressed, making it easier on your loved ones and helping to avoid conflict upon your death or incapacity.
Estate Planning Attorneys Serving Loveland and Estes Park
For more information or to schedule a consultation with our Fort Collins wills and trusts attorneys, call 970-237-5694 (866-686-1410 toll free) or fill out the contact form on this website.