Over 40 Years Experience

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Estate Planning & Probate Attorney in Denver, Colorado

Estate planning may not be a topic you want to dwell on, but it is essential for protecting your legacy and your loved ones. By taking the time to create an estate plan, you can protect your hard-earned wealth and ensure that your wishes are known to your loved ones in the event of incapacity or death.

Creating an estate plan is also essential to minimize the cost and time of probate, which is usually the most time-consuming and expensive legal proceeding after someone dies. As an estate planning and probate attorney in Denver, Colorado, I can help you with both: creating an estate that addresses your unique needs and goals and explaining your options for avoiding or minimizing probate.

At William H. O'Rourke, P.C., I also serve clients in the surrounding Metropolitan Denver Area, as well as up and down the 1-25 corridor from Castle Rock to Fort Collins. Set up a consultation today.

What Is Estate Planning & Why Do You Need an Estate Plan?

Estate planning is the process of arranging for the management and distribution of your assets after your death or incapacity. The goal of estate planning is to ensure that your assets are managed and distributed efficiently, according to your wishes, and with the least possible tax consequences or legal challenges.

There are many reasons why you should consider creating an estate plan. Here are some common reasons: 

  • Ensure that your assets go to the right beneficiaries. Without an estate plan, your assets may be distributed according to state law, which may not truly reflect your wishes. Creating a will or a trust makes it clear who should receive your assets when you pass away. 
  • Protect your assets and loved ones. An estate plan can help protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits, and ex-spouses. It can also ensure that your children or other beneficiaries are taken care of financially, both during your lifetime and after you die.
  • Avoid high taxes. Estate planning can help minimize the tax consequences of transferring your assets to your heirs by creating trusts, establishing charities, or using other tax-saving strategies. 
  • Clarify your wishes for business succession. You’ve spent years running your business and shaping it into something valuable. Be sure to work with an attorney to craft documents detailing how you will pass on your business in the event of your incapacity or death. 
  • Prepare for possible incapacity. Estate planning can help you prepare for the possibility of becoming incapacitated due to illness or injury. By creating a power of attorney, a healthcare directive, or a living trust, you can ensure that someone you trust will manage your affairs and make healthcare decisions on your behalf. 
  • Reduce the cost and time of probate. There are many estate planning tools available that help you reduce the cost and time of probate. In some cases, it may be possible to avoid probate altogether.  
  • Eliminate or minimize family feuds. Finally, estate planning can help prevent family feuds and legal battles over your assets and your care. By creating a clear and legally binding plan, you can avoid ambiguity and disagreements among your loved ones.
  • Colorado's Probate Statute is Clean and Efficient. In many parts of the country, "probate" is avoided with very expensive trusts, just to avoid the time and costs to open, administer and close a probate estate. Unlike many states, such as California, Colorado's legislature adopted a very simple and and economical probate statute. Over my long legal career, more than 90% of all estates probated by my firm have been "informal," with minimal contacts with the probate court beyond the opening and closing of such estate. I have decades of experience in representing probate estates, working closely with the designated Personal Representative of each such estate as appointed by the probate court.
  • Documents that Comprise a Typical Estate Plan. In my practice, a typical estate plan would consist of a Last Will & Testament, a Personal Property Memorandum, a General Power of Attorney, a Durable Medical Power of Attorney and an Advance Directive for Medical or Surgical Care, often called a "living will." When minor children are involved, the Last Will & Testament will include a testamentary trust to provide for such children until such time as they reach majority.
  • Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts. At times, for asset protection or other financial planning goals, in addition to a well thought out estate plan, my clients are in need of a trust to provide long-term financial benefits to their extended families or others. As with a well-drafted estate plan, I have decades of experience in the creation of clear and understandable trust agreements, as well as helping my trust clients with the transfers of designated real property and personal property assets into such trusts.

I would be delighted to get started on creating a comprehensive estate plan or trust that reflects your wishes and gives you peace of mind.

What Is Probate?  

Probate is a legal process that occurs after someone dies to distribute their assets. During probate, the court oversees the transfer of assets to their heirs or beneficiaries. Generally, assets that go through probate include those that are not jointly owned or do not have a designated beneficiary who survives the owner. This can include things like real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, and personal property.

However, not all estates need to go through court-supervised probate in the state of Colorado. Under Colorado law, assets can be distributed without opening probate when the decedent’s probate assets are valued below $74,000 (for deaths in 2022) and the decedent did not own real property. 

How an Attorney Can Help

Creating an estate plan and navigating the probate process can be overwhelming, especially if you do not know where to start. That is why it is important to consider the help of an estate planning and probate attorney. An attorney can help you understand the legal process, assist with filing all the necessary paperwork, and represent you in court if any disputes arise.

A skilled estate planning attorney can provide valuable guidance when it comes to creating an estate plan that can help your loved ones avoid probate altogether. By creating a comprehensive plan with an attorney’s guidance, you can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are taken care of after you are gone. 

How Can We Help?

To set up an appointment with a Colorado estate planning & probate attorney, call or email me below. My office is open from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and I will accommodate after-hours appointments. If a formal engagement as your counsel does not result from our consultation, the first 30 minutes of our time together will be free of charge.


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  • Sunday: Closed
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