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Woodland Park Family Law And Estate Planning Law Blog

What are the benefits of making a trust?

Even though you can create an estate plan at any time, not many people want to think about what might happen after they pass away. That is understandable--the last thing anyone wants to think about is dying. However, it is crucial to set up an estate plan to protect the people and assets in your life after you leave it.

One way to do this is through a trust. Trusts allow you to assign specific assets or responsibilities to the individuals in your life, often called beneficiaries in these matters.

The role of advance directives in long-term care planning

Most people enjoy the autonomy of making decisions for themselves. They may take pleasure in choosing their own homes, associating with the people they enjoy, and working in careers where they feel successful and valued. The right to live one's life as they see fit is enjoyed by Colorado residents and many others throughout the nation.

However, it is a sad fact that as people age, it can be harder and harder for them to manage the important decisions that go along with living independently. Particularly when an illness or injury prevents them from maintaining their physical and mental abilities, many older individuals find themselves dependent on the assistance and care of other people. When life becomes more difficult for a person to manage, they may need to take legal steps to protect their rights and choices about the future.

A review of the probate process

Probate is a legal process that everyone has heard of but few people actually understand. Colorado residents may know that it has something to do with a person's death and how that person's money and property are distributed among the person's heirs. These basic facts are generally true, but there is a lot more to probate that people should know, so they can make good choices about how to prepare their estate to avoid it.

When a person owns property, they can do so on their own or they may share that property with others. For example, spouses may both have their names on the titles to their cars or two people may jointly own a bank account out of which either may draw funds. When property is owned by two or more people, it generally remains the property of the survivors when one of those individuals dies. Property that automatically transfers to another person upon a person's death does not have to go through probate.

How does a court decide where a child will live?

One of the biggest questions that parents may have when they choose to end their marriages is where their children will live once the parents' divorces are finalized. In Colorado, parents may share custody of their kids or courts may grant sole custody to just one of the parents of a divorcing couple. The decision to permit shared child custody or to order sole custody will depend upon many factors specific to the families in question.

It is easier to split legal custody of a child because ultimately a child does not have to be present for parents to make important decisions about their upbringing. However, splitting physical custody, or the form of custody that concerns where a child will live, is much harder. Moving a child from house to house can be disruptive to their life and may cause them to suffer stress.

Can Colorado courts award alimony during divorces?

In Colorado, alimony is called maintenance and it is money paid from one party to another after a divorce. Maintenance is permissible in the state but certain factors will dictate if a court will award it. Some of the factors relevant to the court's decision-making process will be considered in this post, but readers should talk to their family law attorneys about their maintenance questions.

One of the most important factors that a court will look at when the parties to a marriage begin their divorce and one requests maintenance is the length of the couple's marriage. If a couple was married for only a short amount of time, a court may be less likely to award maintenance as the requesting party presumably was able to support themselves before they walked down the aisle. If a couple was married for decades, it may be more difficult for the requesting spouse to find a job and therefore they may truly be in need of financial help.

Eulogy for My Mother

Madelyn Headshot.jpgMy mother died on Sunday, the 9th of September. She was almost 88 years old. She and my father had been married for nearly 67 years at the time of her death. She was the last of her immediate family to die, and she was proceeded in death by her parents and her two sisters. Her passing was not unexpected, but it was still like being punched in the stomach.

A living will may be part of a Colorado resident's aging plan

Wills are testamentary documents that do not become relevant until the individuals who created them pass away. In a will a person may describe how they want their heirs to benefit from the decedent's end-of-life wealth and how their property should be disposed of. However, there is another type of will that Colorado residents can benefit from having in place, and this form of will is relevant during the creators' lives.

Living wills are legally binding documents that outline who may make important health care decisions for individuals if those individuals are unable to do so on their own. For example, an aging individual may name their child or other trusted loved one with the task of managing their health care needs if the individual becomes infirm or otherwise loses their capacity to make informed decisions about their own health care needs.

The Best Thing to Come Out of Colorado

Headless Chicken.jpgNo, it's not what you think...the best thing to come out of Colorado has nothing to do with Coors beer, marijuana, or the Rocky Mountains. For those of you in the know, the best thing to come out of Colorado is clearly "Mike the Headless Chicken," also known as "Miracle Mike," a chicken forever immortalized in the song, "Headless Mike."

Defining parental responsibilities after a Colorado divorce

The state of Colorado refers to child custody matters as "parental responsibilities." Like in other jurisdictions, parents in Colorado can share physical and legal responsibilities with regard to their children or one parent may be granted these responsibilities if conditions warrant it. Colorado judges are tasked with determining the best interests of the children whose cases appear in their courts and establishing parental responsibility plans that meet those interests and needs.

For example, in one family situation a parent may travel extensively for work and it may be disruptive to the child to spend sporadic time in that parent's household. Rather than giving the parents equal physical time with the child, the traveling parent may be granted visitation with the child while the other parent is charged with the primary physical care of their shared offspring. In another case, parents may live near each other after their divorce and may easily be able to transfer their child between them; in such scenarios parents and children may thrive in shared physical arrangements.

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