While I am not an attorney, quite a bit of my recent Denver work has been helping folks get interests in the right place for the right time. As an example a gentleman owned a piece of land and wanted to sever the minerals. As a landman working in Denver knowing “how” was only part of the issue. The “when” became more important over time. And working with attorneys and the personal representatives of the estates is also critical. Sometimes it is right down to who can spend the money for the estate to get the carpet cleaned. One thing I have noticed is that having CO-PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES can create huge timing issues for the estate if they do not have their tasks identified. So part of the letter of instruction below might include “Harry does the real estate, Melody does the personal property and Freddy handles the tax returns”. Check with your estate attorney on how this can be done and READ MORE BELOW:
An estate plan is a collection of documents to ensure that your wishes are carried out because of death or incapacity to make decisions for yourself. Spouses, minor children, adult children, property and investments can all be factors that should motivate a person to undergo the process.
Will – this document specifies the way a person wants to manage and distribute his/her assets after their death. When a person dies without a will, the laws of the state where the person resided will determine the distribution of the property.
Durable Power of Attorney – this document grants to a designated person the authority to act on behalf of the principal in in legal affairs should the principal become incapacitated. Among other things, this would allow the attorney-in-fact to buy and sell property on the behalf of the principal.
Healthcare Proxy – this document grants that a designated person can legally make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal when they are incapable of making and executing specific decisions stated in the proxy.
Living Will – this document directs physicians with respect to life-prolonging medical treatments in case they become unable to communicate their decisions.
Hippa Release – this document allows heath care providers to release your health care information to a designated person. Otherwise, they are required by federal law to protect the privacy of your health information.
Letter of Instruction – This document contains information and instructions about a person’s wishes upon death. It is intended to offer details on whom to contact and where to find important documents about personal and financial matters.
Requirements of these documents can vary from state to state and legal advice should be obtained. If you need a current estimate of value on real estate that may be involved, usually a price opinion from a licensed real estate professional will suffice. It would be my privilege to assist you with this at no cost or obligation.
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Depending on the county, a person who dies without a will needs to file a probate action in each county where he owns real property. So if you own land in Garfield County, Denver, and oil and gas right in Natrona County, Wyoming, you may need to probate them all so your heirs can receive their inheritance. Again, talk to your Denver area attorney for specifics. But know that a will is very helpful and probably the most valuable instrument listed above. Even with a will some actions will be required.