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Will & Trust Lawyers in Colorado Springs

Safeguard Your Loved Ones’ Future with Gaddis, Herd, Craw & Adams, P.C.

Gaddis, Herd, Craw & Adams, P.C. has more than four decades of experience assisting individuals and families with drafting wills, trusts, and other estate planning matters. When it comes to creating a will or a trust, it is critical that you understand your options and the implications it can have on your estate as well as your loved ones. Larry R. Gaddis, Esq., is an expert in the estate planning field and have effectively guided clients through a wide range of estate matter, both straightforward and complex.

Start exploring your estate planning options with our trusted Colorado Springs will and trust attorneys today. Call Gaddis, Herd, Craw & Adams, P.C. at (719) 249-6240, we’re ready to hear your story.

Wills

A will is a legal document that designates where your assets should go after your death and who should serve as executor or personal representative to settle your estate. Wills also dictate who can take care of your children when you are not around. If you pass away with a will, the state will decide who takes care of your children and where your assets will go.

If You Leave Something in Your Will to a Certain Person, Does it Guarantee That He/She Will Receive It?

Whether or not someone will receive an asset that you left him or her in your will at your death will depend on a variety of factors.

The principal factor as to whether that asset is controlled by your Last Will will depend upon the following:

  1. Is the property owned in joint tenancy? If the property is owned in joint tenancy the surviving joint tenant automatically ends up owning the property regardless of what you have said in your will.
  2. Is the property in a bank account that has a “payable on death” (POD) designation? Upon the death of the owner of the account, those assets will pass to the person who is named as the POD beneficiary regardless of what you have stated in your will.
  3. Is the asset held in a brokerage account that has a “transfer on death” (TOD) designation? Similar to the POD identified above, the TOD designation automatically transfers the ownership of the assets in that account to the named recipient regardless of what you have said in your will.
  4. Is there a beneficiary designation?
    • (a) Life insurance policies almost always have a beneficiary designation. The named beneficiary will receive the proceeds of the life insurance policy regardless of what the will directs.
    • (b) Most IRA and other retirement savings accounts, such as 401(k)s, have beneficiary designations. Again, those assets will transfer to the named beneficiary instead of the beneficiaries named in the will.
    • (c) Annuities also typically have named beneficiaries and again, that beneficiary designation would control who is to receive the annuity at the death of the owner and not the will.
    • (d) Colorado law also recognized a particular kind of deed called a “beneficiary deed.” If the deed is executed and recorded prior to the death of the owner of the property, then the deed directs who is to receive the real estate upon the death of the owner, regardless of what the will says.
  5. Assets that are owned by a revocable trust or revocable living trust (all the same thing) will pass to the trust beneficiaries and not according to a beneficiary named in a will.

The above list of “probate avoidance” devices is not exhaustive but does give a fair indication that merely naming an asset in a will to be received by a particular person in and of itself is no guarantee that that will happen. To be certain you should check with your estate planning attorney.

Trusts

A trust is a three-party arrangement that allows you, the "grantor," to transfer property to a "trustee," who will be responsible for managing the trust's property on behalf of the "beneficiary."

Trusts are multi-faceted tools that allow you to choose who you want to handle your trust and how your assets will pass to your beneficiaries. Although trusts offer many benefits, they may not always be the best legal option to deal with an estate. Factors such as types of investments, personal circumstances, and goals you want to achieve are some consideration that can influence whether to establish a trust and what kind. It is vital that you discuss with an attorney whether a trust is appropriate for you and how it can be effectively administered.

Counsel Through Complex Estate Planning

When you've spent a lifetime growing your assets, make sure that you have an estate plan in place to protect your hard-earned wealth. If your estate falls in the category of our clients whose estates have complex financial assets that exceed millions of dollars, your estate plan may require a multifaceted and intricate strategy tailored to your specific situation. We can explore various tools such as asset protection, succession planning, tax minimization, and pension planning. Your attorney can provide you with a better idea of the right tools to use for your estate.

Over the years thousands of satisfied clients have referred family members and friends to Gaddis, Herd, Craw & Adams, P.C. because they trust our expertise in estate planning. We are certain you will be pleased with our services as well.

Learn more with a free consultation with our team. Contact our offices today to speak with us.

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