ESTATE PLANNING

Altus Law Group will assist you with planning and organizing your affairs to ensure proper management in the event of incapacity or death.  We will provide a wide variety of estate planning options adjusted to meet the needs of each individual client. At your confidential initial consultation, we will discuss various estate planning tools and your individual needs. We analyze how you hold title to your assets and may make certain recommendations to ensure they work conjunctively with your estate planning documents.  We will construct an estate plan specific to you and your family’s needs. All our estate planning at Altus Law Group is conducted on a flat fee basis. Below are examples of some estate planning tools.

Will

We will draft your Will to establish how you want your assets distributed after your death.  In your Will, you nominate who you want to wind up your estate’s affairs, the personal representative (executor).  You can also nominate a guardian to care for and raise your minor children. We will clearly articulate how your assets will be devised and how your taxes, if any, should be paid.  Altus Law Group has extensive years of experience drafting custom Wills. Regardless of the size of your family and assets, you need a Will. However, you should take caution to ensure it is drafted by a competent attorney or else it may cause more damage than good for your loved ones.

Separate Memorandum

Your Separate Memorandum allows you to specify persons to receive your personal tangible items after your death, such as a watch, grandfather clock or baseball card collection.  These types of assets are usually listed in a Separate Memorandum, rather than a Will, as the Separate Memorandum does not require either witnesses or a notary. Additionally, if you change your mind as to whom should receive a certain asset, you can simply create a new Separate Memorandum rather than have to go through the formalities of executing a new Will.

Trust

Altus Law Group will analyze whether it is appropriate to use a trust as a part of your overall estate plan.  A trust holds assets for certain beneficiaries and/or certain purposes for a selected amount of time. The trust is managed by someone you name to serve as Trustee.

 We will determine whether a Revocable Living Trust (“RLT”) is appropriate for your situation.  As the name implies, an RLT can be amended or revoked at any time while you are alive and have capacity.  We will advise you on when it is appropriate to “fund” your trust through the transfer of assets during life or pursuant to the terms of your Will and designated beneficiary agreements upon your death.  One of the many benefits to an RLT is that you can avoid your estate going through the probate process with the Court, if the RLT is properly funded during your lifetime. We will discuss how your RLT becomes irrevocable upon your death, which provides asset protection for your beneficiaries.

Another alternative that we will discuss is an Irrevocable Trust.  As the name implies, this type of trust is irrevocable, meaning that it cannot be revoked or otherwise terminated.  Altus Law Group will advise you on what assets are appropriate to transfer into an irrevocable trust for appropriate asset protection, Medicaid planning or legacy planning, etc.

There are many reasons to create a trust, unique to each client.  One common example is the creation of a trust for minor children. In Colorado an individual cannot inherit money until age 21.  Therefore, we commonly create a contingent trust stating that distributions to children under age 21 are to remain in trust and used for the children’s benefit.

Another common example is a legacy trust where you can leave an inheritance to someone.  The funds are for the benefit of beneficiary, but until they are consumed by the beneficiary, they are safe in the trust from creditors, predators, bankruptcy and divorce.  This is a great tool to ensure that your beneficiaries obtain the benefit of the inheritance, not someone else.

We will also analyze whether it is appropriate to draft a Special Needs Trust for a beneficiary who receives disability benefits.  We want to ensure that the beneficiary does not get disqualified from their governmental benefits due to an inheritance.

General Durable Power of Attorney  

We will draft your General Durable Power of Attorney where you (known as the “Principal”) nominate an individual (known as your “Agent”) to handle your financial affairs should you become incapacitated. Altus Law Group will analyze whether your General Durable Power of Attorney should be drafted to include all of your financial affairs or be limited to certain affairs and/or a certain time period.  A General Durable Power of Attorney expires immediately upon the Principal’s death. 

Medical Power of Attorney 

Altus Law Group will draft your Medical Durable Power of Attorney wherein you will nominate an individual (known as your “Agent”) to handle your medical affairs should you become incapacitated. Altus Law Group will ensure compliance with current HIPAA laws and coordination with your Advanced Medical Directive (also known as a Living Will).  While making these types of decisions can certainly be daunting, it is important, and Altus Law Group will ensure it is done properly. 

Advanced Medical Directive (Living Will)

Altus Law Group can help you create an Advanced Medical Directive, which allows you to establish a length of time you would like to receive life support and/or artificial nourishment should you suffer an injury or illness requiring these medical services.  This is an essential document that conveys your wishes to medical professionals. We are careful to align this with your wishes in your Medical Power of Attorney. This is different from a Do Not Resuscitate. This powerful document allows you and your family to have the peace of mind that your wishes will be complied with even when you cannot voice them.

Disposition of Last Remains 

Your Disposition of Last Remains allows you to establish whether you would like to be buried or cremated.  You can specify a type of ceremony, flowers, music, etc. Even if you do not have strong thoughts on this, it is helpful to the family when they are simply following your wishes instead of deciding on their own. 

Business Planning 

Altus Law Group will analyze any business ownership you may have and update your business documents, if necessary.  Our experience allows us to ensure that your business documents and estate planning documents are properly synchronized to achieve your goals.  At Altus Law Group, we take a consultative and leadership role to ensure the proper organization of your business affairs. 

Premarital Agreements 

Altus Law Group will analyze whether a Premarital Agreement would benefit your overall estate plan.  Altus Law Group will advise on how the Premarital Agreement establishes duties and property rights of married couples during the marriage as well as at death or upon divorce.  This is becoming a popular vehicle for persons entering a marriage with children from another relationship due to Colorado’s definition of “marital property”. It is important that you consult an attorney with knowledge of estate planning laws and family laws to ensure this is properly drafted.  We have extensive experience in both and will help you ensure you are properly protected.

Cohabitation Agreements 

Altus Law Group will determine if a Cohabitation Agreement to establish the duties and property rights of cohabiting couples would benefit the estate plan.  We draft agreements to establish how assets are held during the relationship and upon death or dissolution of the relationship. Given Colorado’s lenient laws on common law marriage, this document will properly define the relationship.