One of the central aspects of the estate planning process is to decide how your estate will be handled and passed on following death. Although there can be a lot to consider when making these plans – such as how to minimize probate and/or estate tax obligations, one of the first steps will be to figure out just what an estate includes so that the appropriate plans can be made for each asset.
In general, some of the essential assets to incorporate in estate planning commonly include:
- Bank accounts – This includes any checking and/or savings accounts, as well as any other cash, you hold. These assets can be used to fund trusts, or they can be directly given to someone (by taking advantage of the “transfer upon death” designation) for those who want to minimize their loved ones’ future probate obligations.
- Real estate – This includes any homes, commercial property or other real estate you own. The laws regarding real estate and how it’s transferred can be complicated, so it’s best to work with a lawyer to figure out the best way to handle your real estate holdings in your estate plan.
- Personal property – This includes any valuables you own in your name alone, such as jewelry, art collections, motor vehicles, etc. While these assets can fund trusts, they can also be designated for specific beneficiaries via a will.
- Retirement and investment accounts – With these types of accounts, it’s usually advisable to use the TOD designations so that these assets can be directly transferred to a loved one without the need for probate.
- Business assets – How business interests are handled in your estate plan will depend on how much a business you own and what specifically you would like to happen with those interest upon your death. If you already have a buy-sell agreement in place for your business, then this may include some provisions for how this asset is to be dealt with upon death.
A Few Helpful Estate Planning Tips for Getting Started
- Dealing with your assets is just one part of estate planning. Other aspects that will be central to this process include developing end-of-life directives, powers of attorney, etc.
- Once you have an estate plan in place, make a plan for regularly updating it.
Contact the Trinidad and Pueblo Estate Attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth
If you are ready to develop an estate plan or administer an estate, the Trinidad and Pueblo estate attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth are ready to provide you with the highest quality legal services.
To learn more about our superior legal services and how we can assist you, contact us by calling (719) 556- 8844 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.
From our offices based in Pueblo, we represent clients in Trinidad, La Jara, Lamar, Walsenburg, Alamosa and throughout the state of Colorado.