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9 questions for deciding if it’s time to make an estate plan

It’s still early enough in the year to be thinking of changes you want to make in 2021. If estate planning has been on your list year after year, this might be the time to move it to the top. It is natural to find reasons to put off planning your estate.

Planning for this part of your future is not the same as getting ready for a vacation or preparing to buy a new home. It requires some serious thought about delicate and emotional topics. Nevertheless, making your estate plan might be one of the most important and generous things you can do for the wellbeing of your family and your own peace of mind.

Important questions to consider

Before you procrastinate one more year, it may help to understand the importance of creating an estate plan in a timely manner. Too many people in Colorado wait until it is too late and leave their families with the burden of making difficult decisions they shouldn’t have to make. Answering yes to even one of the following questions may indicate the time is right for beginning your plan:

  • Do you have children? Do you worry about their care and upbringing if you should die while they are still young?
  • Do you have a business? Are you hoping to plan for its succession?
  • Are there unique circumstances in your life, such as a child with special needs, an estranged heir or an heir with an addiction?
  • Do you have concerns about what will happen during probate? Are you worried that your loved ones would fight over your assets or that the delay of the process would create hardships for your family?
  • Do you want to direct some of your assets to your favorite charitable or social concern?
  • Are you concerned about what will happen if you should become incapacitated? How will your family know your wishes for your care or financial matters?
  • Does your health or family history suggest you may be facing long-term care needs at some point in the future?
  • Do you worry about potential changes in tax laws and how they might affect your estate?
  • Will the value of your assets exceed the exemption amount for the federal estate tax?

Any of these or other concerns may prompt you to take that important step to plan for the future. In fact, as you review these questions, you may understand the magnitude of the decisions you must make. As a result, you may find that these matters are far too critical to trust to a website form or do-it-yourself template or to undertake without legal guidance.

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