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Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process whereby families develop a plan that ensures that the assets they have worked so hard to accumulate during their lifetime are protected at their death and distributed as they choose. Without proper planning, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Colorado Department of Revenue may stand to “inherit” a large portion of the assets of many families.

Having an estate plan is a good idea for everyone, regardless of his or her age, health condition, or financial status. With the proper documents, we can create an estate plan to address your concerns about receiving proper medical treatment, minimizing estate tax, leaving money to charities that do important work, special needs situations, and transferring ownership of a family business in an orderly fashion. We excel in helping our clients choose the best estate plan to address their unique concerns, drafting documents to accomplish these ends, and assisting in transfers to harmonize asset ownership with the estate plan. Common aspects of estate planning include:

  • Assisted living and advanced health care directives 

  • Durable powers of attorney 

  • Medical powers of attorney 

  • Family, revocable, and irrevocable trusts

  • Charitable giving plans and trusts

  • Wills to work in conjunction with plans which will avoid probate

  • Family limited partnerships and limited liability companies 

  • Insurance planning and life insurance trusts 

We also provide comprehensive legal advice to our clients in the areas of:

  • Home and asset protection planning 

  • Co-ownership structures for family property

  • Marital Agreements / “Pre-Nuptial Agreements” and  “Post-Nuptial Agreements”

  • Conservatorships and Guardianships

  • Gifting Strategies and Family Loans

  • Medicaid and Disability planning 

  • Long term care planning 


If you could benefit from a carefully drafted plan to preserve your assets, provide for your family, or address business concerns and transitions, please contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

Probate (Estate Administration)

In Colorado, probate is required to transfer assets whenever someone passes away owning real estate of any value or other assets totaling more than $50,000 in value in their name and without any joint owners or designated beneficiaries. 

It is a common misunderstanding that a Last Will and Testament avoids the probate process when, in fact, a Will relies on probate in order to be effective. Probate is the process of a court admitting a decedent’s Last Will and Testament and therefore making it effective and legally binding. Further, the court will appoint a Personal Representative (i.e. ‘executor’) and give them the authority to transfer assets as the Will dictates. Many Personal Representatives will prefer to obtain legal advice regarding their duties and liabilities in administering the Estate, in addition to understanding the sometimes complex provisions contained in the Will.

If someone passes away without a Will, but owns real estate of any value or assets totaling more than $50,000, probate is still available to authorize someone to transfer the assets of the deceased. The state of Colorado has devised a set of rules that determine who can seek appointment as the Personal Representative and who is entitled to receive a share of the assets of the Estate. This is called “intestacy” or an “intestate estate.”

Trust Administration

If someone passes away with assets held in a trust, the named trustee or successor trustee will often wish to obtain legal advice on their duties and liabilities as trustee, how to interpret and administer the trust estate in accord with the trust documents, and a variety of other considerations.

Having an experienced, caring attorney is extremely important in order to avoid some of the pitfalls and to understand the complexities that arise in managing probate and trust estates and to ensure that the process is as efficient and stress free as possible during a very difficult time in your life.


Patricia Jo Stone, PC has over 35 years experience in handling probate estates and trust administration from the very simple to the very complex. Please feel free to call if you have recently lost a loved one and would like to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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