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Despite common understanding, estate planning is not only meant for the rich. If you own property, estate planning is essential to secure your property and ensure it is adequately shared among your successors. When working with a financial planner, be sure to ask how they can help you manage your wealth and estate. For every parent, estate planning is a crucial step to undertake before their unfortunate demise.

What Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning refers to the process of determining how an individual's assets will be managed, preserved, and distributed to their heirs upon death. It is more than simply drafting up a will and making a statement of your wishes after your death.

During your estate planning, assets to consider include; cars, houses, land, stocks, artworks, pension, debt, life insurance policies, or family heirlooms such as jewelry.

The primary step in any estate planning involves drafting up a will. But, other actions necessitate hiring an estate planning advisor or financial services professional to work with your attorney so that your wishes are firmly in place.

Common Estate Planning Tasks

As you plan on dividing your property, some of the typical tasks you may need to undertake include:

  • Planning for funeral arrangements
  • Establish payment schedules to foundations or charities
  • Setting up trust accounts under the beneficiaries to limit the estate taxes

Some of these tasks may be challenging to a layperson, hence requiring the prowess and competency of an estate planning financial advisor. These individuals are well-versed in estate planning and can help smoothen the transition for you.

Every estate plan should at least have the following items; letter of intent, beneficiary designations, guardianship designations, durable power of attorney, trust or will, and a health care power of attorney.

Trust and Wills

Trust and Wills

A will is a primary step in the planning of your estate. It is not an expensive process that only applies to the rich. Instead, it details how you want to divide your assets among your successors.

The writing up of a will is critical. First, you must ensure that property is not divided between different individuals. Such situations can lead to a will contest or the onset of family rivalry. Thus, it is essential to list down all your assets and individually bequeath them to who you desire.

If you had already given a piece of property to an individual before drafting the will, it is essential to have it included to prevent future conflict.

Letter of Intent

A letter of intent is a set of instructions you leave to your beneficiary or executor detailing how you would wish them to take care of your assets. For example, if you had a piece of property you wanted to discard after your demise, you can detail it in your letter of intent.

Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney or a POA is a critical document that gives an agent or an individual power to carry out transactions or act on your behalf when you are unable to. For example, situations such as being mentally unstable or having health conditions would warrant giving powers to an agent.

In some cases, you can set up reciprocal powers of attorney, which gives your family members the chance to revoke the said powers. Using a trusted advisor, family, or close ally as your POA is advisable.

Beneficiary Designations

During estate planning in Colorado, not all of your assets need to be mentioned in the will. But, it is prudent to include beneficiary designations. For example, you can pass down assets such as 401(k) or life insurance policies to your beneficiaries.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

Like a Durable Power of Attorney, a Health Power of Attorney directs power to an individual to make critical healthcare decisions in your absence. When selecting such a person, it is essential to consider someone you trust who shares similar sentiments as you.

Guardianship Designations

Guardianship designations are not a standard inclusion in wills or trusts but are equally vital. For example, if you have children who are minors, you may want to transfer guardianship to an individual you believe is competent and responsible for looking after your children.

Factors To Consider When Selecting an Estate Planning Advisor

A financial planner can analyze your fiscal situation and help you financially plan for your life goals. At Dunnigan Financial, we work with our clients and their lawyers and estate planners to protect their interests. We can assess your estate planning goals and help you with a financial plan to achieve them. We'll set monthly financial habits for you to ensure you reach these goals.

You don't have to do all the work to find a reputable estate planning advisor. Dunnigan Financial can help you partner with professional estate planners who have your interests at heart.


Experience is the foundation of delivering exemplary results. A well-experienced estate planning advisor is versed in the world of estate planning in Fort Collins, CO. They can deal with difficult-to-handle situations and navigate through them.


Estate planning advisors differ in how they cost their procedures. For example, some may opt to provide free advice, while others may charge a fee for the consultation process. Thus, it is essential to obtain quotations from different advisors to get a favorable price.

The Bottom Line

Your financial advisor and estate planning professional can work hand-in-glove to ensure that your property is protected and you're able to afford end-of-life care and take care of your heirs. In addition, we can work with your estate planning attorney to protect you when you work with Dunnigan Financial.

Don't navigate this complex process alone. Instead, work with a professional that can review your options with you. Visit our website to find out more about professional estate planning advisors.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.

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