Estate Planning

Estate planning is the legal process for documenting your legacy.

The estate planning process begins with an initial interview with an estate planning attorney which typically takes between one and two hours. Before meeting, Ms. Tiftickjian asks clients to fill out a questionnaire listing family members, summarizing assets and liabilities, and identifying trusted friends to serve in important roles. This interview is Ms. Tiftickjian’s opportunity to get to know you and discuss your goals for your estate and loved ones.

You may find that one of the first questions Ms. Tiftickjian asks is: “Tell me about your family.” In order to help plan for your loved ones, Ms. Tiftickjian needs to know what they are like. What are your children’s temperaments like? How responsible are they? How do family members interact? Do they work well together? From a personal standpoint, estate planning for a young family involves naming guardians for minor children. Estate planning for most parents includes setting up a trust to protect their children’s inheritance and teach them how to handle money responsibly over time. Parents of adult children sometimes wonder what can be done to protect a child’s inheritance from the child’s creditors or ex-spouse in a divorce. Parents of children with special needs may need to preserve a child’s ability to receive public benefits.

From a financial standpoint, estate planning involves examining and investigating how best to pass on your assets after you die. The federal estate tax exemption, i.e., the amount of assets you can pass on without incurring a federal estate tax, has fluctuated significantly in recent years. With a house, retirement plans and life insurance, many young couples reach these thresholds easily, even if they do not consider themselves wealthy. Estate planning often involves leveraging your gift, estate and generation skipping transfer tax exemptions to minimize taxes and maximize the amount you leave
to loved ones.

Together, we can design a plan that addresses your personal and financial estate planning goals using wills or trusts. A comprehensive estate plan will also include documents to address medical and end-of-life decisions (living will and/or medical power of attorney), documents to address financial decisions if you are not able to make them (financial power of attorney), and burial instructions.

To discuss your legacy goals, contact our Denver estate planning lawyers at (303) 991-4676 or send us a note.