You will spend a third of your life working. That’s almost 91,000 hours on average. Most of these will revolve around accumulating wealth, which, as you know, you cannot bring to your grave unless you want to die like the Egyptians.
What then happens to your assets as soon as you breathe your last? Who will receive them, and will your death also end your liabilities?
Because everybody dies (unless, by some miracle, science discovers the fountain of youth), it’s essential to understand the estate process. It will also help you know the significance of having an estate planning lawyer in Denver.
Who Owns the Assets?
If you die with some wealth, then the primary question is if you left behind a will. It is a legal document that outlines the assets, who will receive what, and the executor. This will be the person in charge of ensuring everyone follows your instructions.
An estate planning attorney can help you in this situation, and you can assign the same person as the executor.
In certain situations, you may not need one. An example is when you and your surviving spouse have a joint account. The survivor then inherits all your money there.
Otherwise, it means you pass intestate, and the persons who will inherit your assets depend according to the Colorado succession law.
In the state, the surviving spouse usually takes the biggest share. They can inherit everything even if you share biological children with them.
Families, though, are complicated, and situations can get awkward when you and your surviving spouse have children outside the relationship. This guide can give you a better idea of the split of assets.
It’s Not That Simple
Even if you have a will, the process of giving away your assets after death is still not that easy. For one, it enters into probate. It is a judicial process wherein the court should confirm the authenticity of the will.
It is routine, but it can also be lengthy. Someone needs to account for or inventory the assets and determine the value of the wealth, for instance. It can take as long as months.
While it happens, nobody gets anything, and yet the heirs may have to pay for the estate tax. While Colorado doesn’t have one, there is a federal tax. The good news is the exemption is already more than $10 million. The deceased has to be very rich for its heirs to pay the tax.
Another problem is the debt. Student loans die along with you, but private debts seldom do, especially if you make one of your descendants as your co-signee. They will be the one who has to continue paying for them.
If you want to skip the hassle of probate for the sake of your loved ones, talk to a lawyer about having a living trust.
Wealth will be the least of your concerns when you’re dying, but it may matter to your loved ones. It will never ease the grief, but it can spare them from other kinds of headaches such as finances.
Save them from more trouble — and drama — by planning your estate while you still can.