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  • Catherine Swan

Estate Plans Are Not about the "Estate"

I know–when you hear estate plan, you picture this:




And you say to yourself, “Well, I don’t own any property,” or “I only own a little condo,” and it’s easy to think that without extraordinary wealth, you don’t need an “estate plan.”


It’s another example of attorney-speak that just doesn’t translate well. And at Swan Law, we try to make this whole thing more transparent.


Because an estate plan is not about the size of your “estate.” It doesn’t have anything to do with owning a “stately mansion” or “estate grounds” like Downton Abbey.


Your “estate” is all of your belongings. If you have belongings, you have an estate. In Colorado, if those belongings are worth more than $64,000 total, they will have to go through probate to be distributed when you die.


Also in Colorado, if you own even $1 of real estate, your estate will go through probate. Without a plan, it could mean delays and difficulties for the people who are close to you.

Even if you didn’t have any physical belongings (which I doubt, if you are reading this on the internet), I would still encourage you to make an estate plan.


Medical decisions, financial decisions, and choosing a guardian or proxy or agent are all part of an estate plan that is essential for every individual. If you have intellectual property, online accounts, bank accounts–anything that would require management if you were not around or capable enough to do it–you need to say who is allowed to manage it, and how.


An estate plan helps you plan for health care decisions, and it lets you have control over who will make the decisions if you can’t.


If you have kids, an estate plan is an opportunity to express who you want to raise your children if you cannot.


So, don’t get caught in the myth that you need to be rich to have an estate plan. If you value having control over what happens to you and to the people you love, an estate plan is the only way to make those wishes legally enforceable.


If you value reducing stress and worry for your family or loved ones, if you value the belongings you’ve acquired in your life or the art you have made or the story you leave behind, an estate plan is the best and most important step you can take in making this a reality.


It’s not about the estate. It’s about caring for your kids, protecting the business you’ve built, or preserving the legacy of your life.


And we’re here to help: 970-879-1572 or jamie@swanlawoffice.com to request a pre-meeting packet.

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405 South Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101

PO Box 773002 Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 80477

Tel: 970-879-1572 

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