This is National Estate Planning Awareness Week |

This is National Estate Planning Awareness Week

Oct.21-27 marks National Estate Planning Awareness Week, according to local estate planning attorneys Kerst & Strautman P.C. This observance seeks to educate Americans about the importance of having proper and updated estate planning documents should death or incapacity occur suddenly.

Estate planning is one of the most overlooked areas of personal financial management. According to a 2010 industry trends survey of estate planners conducted by WealthCounsel, nearly 70 percent of the respondents, an estimated 120 million Americans, do not have up-to-date estate plans to protect themselves or their families in the event of sickness, accidents, or untimely death. This costs many families wasted dollars and unnecessary hardship that can be minimized with proper planning. Furthermore, according to a 2009 survey by, there has been a considerable decline in the number of Americans with estate planning documents since 2007:

• 67 percent of adult Americans do not have a living will or powers of attorney for property or health care

• 65 percent of adult Americans do not have a basic last will and testament

• Only 21 percent of adult Americans have established a trust for estate planning purposes

Many people are unaware of the need for an estate plan or believe that it is only necessary for the “wealthy”. Kerst & Strautman P.C. recommends that every individual create an estate plan, especially those in the following categories:

• Those with minor children;

• Those with a disabled child or relative;

• Those with an aged or disabled parent who is dependent in whole or part on them for support;

• Those who are married, with or without children;

• Those who are divorced with children;

• Those who own any real property (house, condominium, rental property);

• Those who own real property in other states;

• Those who own personal property having a fair market value, less liens and encumbrances, of more than $60,000.;

• Those who would not be satisfied with their estate being distributed under the Colorado intestacy statute (law that dictates heirs if a person dies without a will);

• Those having a taxable estate (an estate over $5.25 million per person in 2013).

This list is not exhaustive but it illustrates that virtually everyone needs some level of estate planning, typically including the preparation of a will and/or trust instrument, healthcare and property powers of attorney, and a living will. Once an estate plan is created, it must be updated periodically if a person’s circumstances change or in response to new tax laws.

The attorneys at Kerst & Strautman P.C. hope to increase general awareness of the importance of thoughtful estate planning and is committed to educating the public about the negative consequences of a loved one dying without the proper documents in place.

Kerst & Strautman P.C. may be reached by calling 970-945-2447 or by emailing

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