The Estate Attorneys at Reams & Reams offers a wide range of estate planning services to fit your situation. We are a third generation law firm in Grand Junction with an estate planning focus. If you think you want to contact an attorney to create an estate plan, you should consider the following and be ready to answer these questions:
- What are my assets? How are my assets owned? Are they owned jointly or solely? Do I have beneficiaries to any of my assets? Are my assets estate assets or non-estate assets?
- How do you I want my assets to be distributed? Who are my heirs or beneficiaries? Should I consider charities? Are any of my beneficiaries old enough or competent to receive the assets? Are any of my beneficiaries disabled or unable to receive the assets for any reason? Should I place conditions on any of my beneficiaries to receive assets?
- Who do I want to administer my assets after I am gone? If that person cannot do it, who will be my backup? Do you have a third person?
- Do I need a trust? (Generally, we discourage trusts except for certain situations, because they are expensive and complicated to manage.)
- Do I want to include any funeral or burial instructions?
- Will my estate trigger any tax issues? (While are an estate planning practice, we do not specialize in tax law other than general knowledge of taxes with estates and trust. Please see your accountant or a tax attorney if you think there are tax issues.)
- During your lifetime, who should handle my financial and medical decisions if I become incapacitated or unable to make those decisions?
- Do you I need to plan for Medicaid and Long Term Care Assistance?
With every plan, we include financial and medical powers of attorney as well as advanced directives to plan for the worst. We recommend these estate planning documents, because you never know what may happen, and we want you prepared for the future. And we understand: Everyone is worried about the cost. There are estate planning forms on the internet that can be downloaded instantaneously at little or no cost to you; however, we sincerely hope you avoid online forms, such as LegalZoom or RocketLawyer and hire a professional attorney to review your estate plan. Unfortunately, we are seeing a growing trend of people downloading forms off the internet. They then execute estate plans with incorrect forms that create fatal defects, which may cost thousands to fix. If you do decide to still use those websites, we recommend at least have someone review the documents to make sure they are accurate and spelled right. From our experience, some of these internet forms do not reflect the correct law in Colorado and executing them can have dire consequences that are hard to reverse, especially if they become irrevocable.
The most important question: How much is this going to cost? Some lawyers charge flat fees of $1,000 or more; however, estate plans very much depend on your situation. It is our policy to charge an hourly rate from start to finish. Our rates are published here. As said above, we don’t push trusts or added documents that are unnecessary. This is your decision, and we will advise you to make the most reasonable choice with your situation. With most simple estate plans, including the powers of attorney and advanced directives, we try to keep the bill under $500.00. This is not a guarantee, but it is a market average among our clients with simple estate plans. If your estate plan includes conditions, added language, a trust or multiple revisions, it will be more than the average cost. To help us achieve our goal to lessen the bill, we recommend you come to the appointment with all the above questions answered. This helps us tremendously. After the first draft is complete, we will send you drafts to approve. To further lower the costs, when we schedule the appointment, please calls us ahead of time with any changes before the appointment. If you are ready to review or revise or start or amend your estate plan, please contact us to make an appointment at 970-242-7847.