While it’s good to live in the present and enjoy each day to the fullest, it’s also important to have a plan for the future. Estate planning answers critical questions such as how a person will be cared for if they’re unable to make decisions on their own or care for themself after a serious illness or injury or their capabilities deteriorate due to old age. It also allows a person to make provisions that ensure their family will be cared for even after they’re gone. Don’t wait to complete these important tasks.
Wills are the simplest estate-planning tool. They are the most familiar. A will provides instructions regarding the distribution of assets and property. It can assign specific items to specific people, divide the estate proportionally, or have some combination of the two methods. Most importantly, a will helps the family quickly manage the estate and avoid a lengthy probate process.
Power of Attorney
Powers of attorney provide legal authority to a trusted person to make financial decisions and transactions on behalf of the person creating the power of attorney in case they are unable to do so themselves. Without this document, banks, landlords, and other institutions cannot legally follow the instructions of a third party without a court order.
End of Life / Living Wills
There have been numerous high profile cases of family disputes over life support, feeding tubes, and other extraordinary lifesaving measures. A living will is a document that sets out a person’s wishes with regard to end of life medical decisions to avoid these conflicts.
Durable Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is generally created for a specific amount of time or purpose such as completing a real estate transaction or while the creator recovers from a specific medical procedure. A durable power of attorney is a permanent document that covers the individual in the event of unexpected injuries or illnesses. A power of attorney is only valid while the person who granted you that power is alive. A power of attorney is not a substitute for a will.
Small Estates (under $200,000 net value)
Wyoming provides expedited administration for estates valued under $200,000. If the estate consists of solely personal property, the distribution process may be completed by an affidavit. If the estate contains real property, the estate must be reviewed by the District Court but a summary procedure is used.
For higher-valued estates, the court closely supervises the probate process. This includes notifying potential creditors, supervising the valuation of the estate, ensuring that the will is valid, and carrying out the will’s instructions. If there was no will, the court will follow the state’s intestacy laws.
Humphrey & Associates, P.C. is an experienced estate-planning attorney serving Fort Collins, Cheyenne, Laramie, Greeley, and Casper. Call today to schedule a consultation.