As a parent, one of the scariest thoughts is dying and not seeing your children grow
up. Even scarier is allowing the state to decide who gets custody of your children
and what will happen with any asset and money distributions. Bernie Greenberg, a
Castle Rock attorney specializing in wills and trusts says,”Planning your estate
properly is the most important thing any parent can do to protect their children”.
In an effort to advise local families on the subject, the Douglas County Parenting
Coalition teamed up with the Castle Rock Family Enrichment Center last week to
present an extensive informational meeting at the Castle Rock Public Library.
Presenters conducting the meeting began with making residents aware of the
necessity of estate planning. “Your family is too important to leave to chance, your
kids need to be well cared for if someone dies,” stressed Karen Shirley, a local
attorney at Homes Shirley Law.
The idea of drafting a will, especially when having to answer so many questions
relating to death, is unsettling but necessary. It’s not surprising that surveys from
sites like RocketLawyer.com, a legal services website, show that more than half of
Americans don’t have wills.
The percentage gets worse for young adults, as they think more about current bills
instead of future planning. Numbers don’t get better for families with minors either.
Again, estate planning keeps getting put on the backburner for more immediate
needs. The #1 reason most people don’t draft a will is simple: procrastination.
A will is the most common document individuals create, regardless of financial
status, in order to give a set of instructions to follow to settle your estate when you
die. A will helps identify who (executor) will follow these instructions, as well as to
whom your assets will be given.
In addition, it is extremely important for parents to have a will- should the event
arise both parents die. To protect against incapacity, Greenberg advises that parents
have both a financial and health care durable power of attorney. Parents should also
consider signing stand alone Guardianship Nominations since a will is effective only
after someone has died according to Greenberg. It can be designated who their
temporary guardians should be (right after an accident, for example), as well as who
their permanent custodial guardians will be.
Experts strongly encourage working with an attorney specializing in wills and trusts,
to make sure nothing is left to chance and the documents are done correctly. A
specialist attorney will help draft the will and powers of attorney, and make
excellent suggestions and go over any exclusions that arise, to set up a documents
that are suitable for you.
Updating a will is also necessary if circumstances have changed, such as divorce,
death, changes in finances, new births, or moving across state lines. Even though the
state of Colorado recognizes wills from other states, there may be different rules
that apply to specific circumstances.
An amendment to a will is called a codicil, and it must be signed, dated, and
witnessed (notarized) just like the original will. A dependable and versed attorney
can walk you through the changes to make sure things are up to date with your
families current situation.
Greenberg, the Town’s only specialist in Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, knows
the importance of planning for your family should the unforeseen happen. “Planning
your estate now, doing your will, powers of attorney, guardianship nominations
allow you to control the outcome of unplanned events that might happen in the
future. The only way to protect yourself and your children is to plan now, sign
documents now before the need for such documents arises”.
KOKISH & GOLDMANIS PC
380 Perry Street, Suite 220
Castle Rock, CO 80104