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Majority of Colorado residents still need estate planning

It appears that only 45% of Colorado residents are prepared for their end of days. In fact, research indicates that approximately 55% of Americans have done no formal estate planning. They have not created a will or done anything to ensure that their families and assets are protected upon their deaths and that their final wishes are carried out.

One of the primary benefits of estate planning is that the individual maintains control over how his or her assets are distributed. While some assets, such as a life insurance policy or bank account, may be transferred through documentation associated with the account, the majority of assets will need to be identified and directions given regarding how these assets should be distributed. In addition to providing direction, this action can also minimize controversy regarding who gets what within the family.

Another benefit of estate planning is that it can help to protect assets. As one grows older, the possibility of requiring nursing home care increases. This can be an expensive venture. However, by planning ahead and being familiar with Medicaid policies, one can take steps to protect assets.

Finally, depending upon the extent of one's assets, they can be subject to taxation upon death of the individual. Fortunately, there are ways to protect one's assets from excessive taxes and probate fees. However, in order to do so, proper estate planning steps will need to be taken.

Research suggests that the majority of Colorado residents have done little to protect their assets and loved ones upon death. At the very least, the individual will want to draft a will. An experienced attorney can review the individual's circumstances and recommend other estate planning tools that can also offer the protection desired.

Source: Forbes, "The 3 Reasons Why People Do Estate Planning", Joel Johnson, May 21, 2018

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