Colorado Estate Planning Blog

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Common Estate Planning Mistake #1 – No Estate Planning Whatsoever

You would be surprised how many people choose to let the State determine who will receive their assets at their death.  If you don’t have a Will, the laws of Colorado will determine who manages your estate, who gets your assets, and when they will get the assets (this is called intestacy). 

If you have minor children, you should have a Will to appoint guardians for your children if you and your spouse die before they turn 18. If you do not choose guardians yourself, you can almost be assured that members of your family will fight over this, creating emotional and financial turmoil for your children at the worst possible time. Ultimately, the laws of Colorado, often through a lengthy and expensive court process, will determine who becomes the guardian of your minor children. There are many other situations where the failure to write a will has unexpected and undesirable consequences.

While property such as bank accounts with beneficiary designations or life insurance with named beneficiaries will not be affected by a Will (or the failure to write one), there are often other assets that do not pass outside of a Will and failure to provide for them can cause inappropriate and undesirable outcomes.

At the very least, you owe it to yourselves and your families to sit down with an estate planning professional and see whether intestacy plus your beneficiary designations will suffice (in almost every case, it will not).

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