Estate Planning Done Right
Estate Planning with an attorney means having the peace of mind knowing you've done everything possible to protect yourself and your family. Once these individual needs are addressed, good estate planning benefits your family by eliminating unnecessary probate costs, guardianship hearings, and potential death taxes and income taxes.
Through highly sophisticated estate planning, creative wealth preservation, and estate management strategies, we can help make certain your golden years are spent in comfort; your loved ones are well taken care of, and that your enduring legacy is assured. Being the finest Denver Colorado Estate Attorney's, our primary interest is to alleviate all of your concerns.
Do you have a solid estate plan? Are you prepared for both the expected, and the unexpected? We help retirees and those nearing retirement do the proper planning to ensure their legacy is preserved as they wish. We give practical insights and use easy to understand terms to explain the estate planning process to you. Through our mutual and careful planning, we can create an estate plan specifically tailored for you that ensures that your wishes are carried out.
Our Law Firm prepares tailored estate plans for its individuals addressing tax ramifications, distributions to minor beneficiaries and spendthrift beneficiaries, asset protection for the beneficiaries, avoidance of probate and minimizing if not completely alleviating estate taxes and income taxes. Our Estate Plans include:
- Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies
- Charitable entities
- Medical Powers of Attorney
- Financial Powers of Attorney
Financial Powers of Attorney and Proper Trust Use
The firm also assists clients regarding becoming incapacitated. People often believe that if you become incapacitated, your spouse and loved ones are able to manage your finances automatically. The truth is, you won’t be able to manage your own financial affairs, and neither will they.
In order for others to be able to manage your finances, they must petition a court to declare you legally incompetent. This process can be lengthy, costly and stressful. Your conservator/guardian is required to file annual reports with the appropriate District Court in Colorado. If you want your family to be able to immediately take over for you, you must designate a person or persons that you trust in proper legal documents so that they will have the authority to withdraw money from your accounts, pay bills, take distributions from your IRAs, sell stocks, and refinance your home if necessary. A will does not take effect until you die and as such is insufficient for financial control during your lifetime.
Medical Power of Attorney and Living Wills
In addition to planning for the financial aspect of your affairs during incapacity, you should establish a plan for your medical care. The law allows you to appoint someone you trust - for example, a family member or close friend to make decisions on your behalf about medical treatment options if you lose the ability to decide for yourself. You can do this by using a durable power of attorney for health care where you designate the person to make such decisions. In addition to a power of attorney for health care, you should also have a living will which informs others of your preferred medical treatments should you become permanently unconscious or terminally ill.
With proper planning, your assets can pass on to your loved ones without undergoing probate, in a way that is efficient and private. If you leave your estate to your loved ones using a will, all of your assets may pass through probate. The process is expensive, time-consuming and open to the public. The probate court is in control of the process until the estate has been settled and distributed. If you are married and have children, you want to make certain that your surviving family has immediate access to cash to pay for living expenses while your estate is being settled. It is not unusual for the probate courts to freeze assets for weeks or even months while trying to determine the proper disposition of the estate. Your surviving spouse may be forced to apply to the probate court for needed cash to pay current living expenses. You can imagine how stressful and expensive this process can be.
Providing for Minor Children
It is important that your estate plan address issues regarding the upbringing of your children. If your children are young, you may want to consider implementing a plan that will allow your surviving spouse to be able to devote more attention to your children, without the burden of working outside the home. You may also want to provide for professional assistance and resources for your spouse and children if you believe they lack the experience or ability to handle financial and legal matters.
A good plan should provide for people you’d like to manage your assets as well as the guardian you’d like to nominate for the upbringing of your children. Otherwise, the decision as to who will manage your finances and raise your children will be left to a court of law. Even if you are lucky enough to have the person or persons you would have wanted selected by the court, they may have undue burdens and restrictions placed on them by the court, such as having to provide annual accounting. You should give careful thought to your choice of guardian, ensuring that he or she shares the values you want instilled in your children. You will also want to give consideration to the age and financial condition of a potential guardian. Make sure that your plan does not create an additional financial burden for the guardian.
If you knew you could protect the assets you are passing on to your children from their creditors, predators, divorce, lawsuits, or themselves, would you want to? The primary goal of wealth transfer should be the preservation of your values and the corresponding protection of your children. With issues today of divorce, drug and alcohol dependence, lawsuits, and fiscal irresponsibility, you can design a plan that can give your children the support and maintenance they need while safeguarding them. Outright distributions can, and often does, have a devastating effect on the recipient. Comprehensive estate planning will ask the right questions and provide the solutions you may want and need.
Planning for Death Taxes
Whether there will be any federal estate tax to pay depends on the size of your estate and how your estate plan works. Many states have their own separate estate and inheritance taxes that you need to be aware of. There are many well-established strategies that can be implemented to reduce or eliminate death taxes, but you must start the planning process early in order to implement many of these plans.
Charitable Bequests - Planned Giving
Do you want to benefit a charitable organization or cause? Your estate plan can provide for such organizations in a variety of ways, either during your lifetime or at your death. Depending on how your plan is set up, it may also let you receive a stream of income for life, earn higher investment yield, or reduce your capital gains or estate taxes.
Wealth Transfer Planning
A well-crafted estate plan should provide for your loved ones in an effective and efficient manner by avoiding guardianship during your lifetime, probate at death, estate and income taxes and unnecessary delays. You should consult a qualified estate planning attorney to review your family and financial situation, your goals and explain the various options available to you. Once your estate plan is in place, you will have peace of mind knowing that you have provided for yourself and your family.
Call Us Today for a No-Obligation Consultation: (303) 268-3991
Or Email Us at ECLang@Chrislanglaw.com
The Law Offices of E. Christopher Lang P.C. specializes in assisting Colorado business owners having a high net worth with such sophisticated planning strategies utilizing the family limited partnerships or limited liability companies, personal residence trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, and a wide range of charitable gifting techniques. All of these options will guarantee your family will receive all you have worked for, and will reduce the federal estate taxes, gift taxes, and generation skipping transfer taxes.
Family Limited Partnerships
Family Limited Partnerships are used to move wealth from one generation to another. Partners are either General Partners (GP) or Limited Partners (LP). One or more General Partners are responsible for managing the FLP and its assets. Limited Partners have an economic interest in the FLP, but have no ability to control, direct, or otherwise influence the operations of the FLP. They can neither buy additional assets, nor sell existing assets, and they cannot act on the Partnership's behalf. They also substantially lack the ability to sell their interest, with one typical exception: transfers to immediate family members (spouse, siblings, and direct lineal descendants and ascendants). FLPs are partnerships limited to family members, hence the name.
A Family Limited Partnership (FLP) is a form of a limited partnership among members of a family. The main advantages of forming and funding an FLP involve estate and gift tax savings and asset protection. An FLP also allows you to retain control over the transferred assets while enjoying these advantages.
Once the FLP is established and your assets are transferred to it, you can make gifts of limited partnership interests to your children or other beneficiaries. This accomplishes several different estate planning objectives simultaneously.
First, the value of each limited partnership interest which you give away decreases the value of your taxable estate and, consequently, any tax which your heirs would have to pay upon your death. The gifts are made using the annual gift tax exclusion, so depending on its value, you may not have to pay any gift tax on the transfer.
Second, the value of the partnership interests transferred to your beneficiaries is far less than the corresponding value of the assets in the partnership. Since limited partners do not have the ability to direct or control the day-to-day operation of the partnership, a minority discount can be applied to reduce the value of the limited partnership interests which you are gifting. Furthermore, because the partnership is a closely-held entity and not publicly-traded, a discount can be applied based upon the lack of marketability of the limited partnership interest. This allows you to leverage the FLP as a vehicle to transfer more wealth to your beneficiaries, while retaining control of the underlying assets.
Lastly, a properly-structured FLP can have creditor protection characteristics since the general partners are not obligated to distribute earnings of the partnership.
Contact us in Denver, Colorado, to choose our services to meet your needs. Our legal team offers service options for clients throughout the area.