Estate Planning is the process of analyzing a client's assets,
and the client's desires for how those assets should be used
during their lifetime and after their death. Once resources and
goals have been determined, an Attorney drafts the necessary
documents to accomplish those goals.
Click here to determine what happens at the initial
consultation and what you need to bring.
Estate Planning Documents
and can also include:
Estate Planning Process
After an initial 15 minute free phone consultation, the client
schedules a face-to-face meeting where they provide Ms. Heller
with a full list of their assets and supporting documents,
including any beneficiary designations that have been made on
certain assets (see What
to bring to the initial Consultation). It is important for Ms.
Heller to know if the client has any assets that need special
consideration for Estate/Gift/Income Tax purposes or because the
client wants certain assets to go to certain people. All
beneficiary designations need to be coordinated with the Estate
Next, the client tells the Attorney what they want to
accomplish with their Estate Plan. Ms. Heller will provide the
client with some questions to be discussed to help determine their
Estate Planning goals.
After Ms. Heller has a full understanding of the assets and
wishes of the client, she will recommend to the client what
documents they should have in order to accomplish their goals.
This will include recommendations for any changes to beneficiary
designations. Ms. Heller will also provide an explanation of the
costs for drafting these documents.
- This process takes between one and two hours, depending on
the complexity of the client's situation, how well organized the
asset information provided by the client is, and how many
questions the client has.
- Ms. Heller charges her hourly fee for this initial
consultation and analysis. As of January 2017, Ms. Heller's
hourly rate is $300.00 per hour. This rate can change from time
- The client is then free to think about Ms. Heller's
suggestions before committing to retaining her to do the actual
drafting of documents.
DOCUMENT DRAFTING PROCESS
If the client does decide to retain Ms. Heller to draft the
suggested documents for a full estate plan within thirty (30) days
of the initial consultation, Ms. Heller will deduct the
consultation fee off of the quoted fee for preparation of the
documents. Ms. Heller does request a payment of one-half of the
quoted document fee before beginning work on the documents.
Payment of the remaining balance of the quoted fee is due when the
documents are ready for the client. Any deduction of consultation
fee will be made at the time final payment is
There are various types of Trusts that are used in Estate
Planning (see Frequently
A Trust needs to be administered according to its terms.
The Trustee needs to keep accurate records of all investments
made by the Trust, all receipts and all disbursements made, and
give the beneficiary an Accounting of such activity on an annual
The Trustee is also responsible for filing Income Tax Returns
for the Trust, both Federal and State, and paying any such taxes
The Trustee usually has the final authority to determine how
much money is distributed to the beneficiary and at what times, in
accordance with the terms of the Trust document.
The administrative duties of a Trustee are the same as those of
a Personal Representative of a Probate
Estate. The only difference is that the Court does not need to
certify the appointment of a Trustee under a Trust, as it must
with the Personal Representative of an Estate.
If the Trust is a Revocable
Living Trust, and the Settlor is the beneficiary and Trustee,
he/she does not need to make any accounting of his/her actions as
Trustee. However, if for any reason the Settlor ceases to act as
Trustee, then the Successor Trustee must account to the
Beneficiaries of the Trust as stated above.
Provisions for the Care of Your Animals
After Your Death or
Colorado has one of the best statutes in the entire country
allowing for Pets Trusts. This statute was made law in Colorado in
1994, as part of the revisions to the Colorado Probate Code.
Ms. Heller drafted this legislation, and is considered one of
the leading authorities on the use of Trusts to care for pets.
A "Pets Trust" can be included in your Will or Revocable Living
Trust, to take effect upon your death. You can also set up a
Charitable Remainder Trust if you are making a charity the
remainder beneficiary. A Trust for animals should specify the
- a description of the animal or animals to be cared for;
- who is to be the Caregiver; and the Successor
- who is to be the Trustee; and the Successor Trustee;
- what types of things can be paid for by the Trust: medical
care, food and shelter, grooming, training, travel with the
caregiver, etc; you can be very specific or you can leave it up
to the Trustee;
- whether both income and principal can be used for the care
of the animal(s); or just income, leaving the principal for the
remainder beneficiaries; what about capital gains;
- when will the trust end: after a specific period of years,
or after the animal(s) dies;
- who is to receive the remaining funds of the trust after the
trust ends = the remainder beneficiary;
- who is to receive the trust funds if the trust fails, a
Tell your Attorney what you want
If you want to provide for your animals, it is important to
tell your attorney, so that he or she can explore the appropriate
avenues with you. If he or she is unfamiliar with the options
mentioned here, suggest that they give us a call. We are happy to
help, because it is really the pets that we are helping.