Colorado Springs Legal Blog

Conservators and guardians: What's the difference?

When people make out their wills, they often don't think about the possibility that an injury or illness will leave them incapacitated and unable to make their own financial or medical decisions.

This is where conservators and guardians come in. The Colorado probate court can use them to make directives for an incapacitated person who is no longer able to direct their own affairs.

Where do you keep your will after you write it?

If you watch a lot of television dramas, you might think that everyone who has a will has a lawyer looking after it -- or, at the very least, a wall safe where it can be kept away from prying eyes and meddlesome relatives.

In reality, that's not how it usually works. Most people aren't exactly sure what to do with their wills and other estate planning documents once they get finished making them.

Before you decide to contest a will, know what to expect

You may be heartbroken and infuriated by turns after learning the contents of a loved one's will -- but should you sue?

While some of your friends and relatives may be urging you to take action, it's important to take a moment so that you fully understand how contesting a will works -- and how it could affect your life if you decide to go through with it.

How pour-over wills work

Once you set up a revocable living trust to hold your assets, you don't necessarily stop acquiring new assets. What happens if you die before some of those new assets have been added to the trust (or otherwise been assigned designated beneficiaries)?

This is where a pour-over will comes in handy. In simple terms, this kind of will takes control of everything that doesn't already belong in your trust or passes directly into the hands of others according to plan. The assets are "poured over" into the trust you already established and distributed by its terms.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) directives in Colorado

Advance directives are legal documents that help you retain control over your last days. Advance directives include medical powers of attorney, living wills and -- at least for some people -- do not resuscitate orders (DNRs). In Colorado, DNRs are commonly called cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) directives.

Essentially, CPR directives tell medical providers that you are refusing CPR in any situation where you have stopped breathing or your heart has stopped beating. This includes manual stimulation (like mouth-to-mouth resuscitation), chemical stimulation (through the use of drugs) and mechanical stimulation (like a breathing machine).

Why do adult children fight over their parents' care?

When parents get older, it's only natural for adult children to step in and start to make arrangements for their care. Unfortunately, a family civil war can easily get started when the adult kids can't agree on how to care for their elderly parents.

Why do adult children frequently end up in disputes? Understanding what leads to family conflicts over senior care can help you anticipate some potential problems -- and head them off. Here are the underlying factors behind many family fights over aging parents:

How to prepare a living will before you deploy overseas

A living will is a health care directive that allows you to name someone to make health care decisions on your behalf in case you are incapacitated. It’s not a topic that usually occurs to a young couple, especially when one of them is getting ready to ship overseas with the military.

But it’s always a good idea to plan ahead, and a living will should be a key part of your plan.

Here's a great gift idea: A basic estate plan

Everybody struggles to find gifts during the holiday season that express their love for family and friends. While it might seem strange, an estate plan might be an absolutely wonderful gift for someone you love.

No matter how young someone is, a basic estate plan is a necessity these days -- but many people delay putting their wishes in writing because there always seems to be a more pressing issue to handle (and another place to spend the money). That's what makes an estate plan such an ideal gift. Many attorneys have modest fees for basic plans, like a will and power of attorney documents.

Internal Revenue Service announces new limits on estates, gifts

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the 2019 limits for gift taxes and estates -- and it's a huge relief for many wealthy seniors who may have been worried about any large gifts they hoped to pass along to their heirs.

In 2019, the annual gift exclusion amount is still just $15,000. However, an individual can now leave $11.4 million to his or her heirs without fear that any of it will be claimed by federal estate taxes or gift taxes after they are gone. Married couples can leave their heirs $22.8 million. The exclusions come as a result of the tax reforms instituted by the Trump administration. Prior to the reforms, the base exemption rate was only $5 million per person.

Should you try mediation for a guardianship dispute?

When a beloved relative's health and mental functioning are seemingly in decline, it's only natural for relatives to want to step in and protect him or her from abuses.

What happens, however, when there are different opinions about what's best for the senior? What if the senior objects to their attempts? After all, being given a guardian is the end of the senior's autonomous existence and personal freedom.

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