Two Alarm Fire

As many of you have already heard, there was a two alarm fire early on Sunday morning, September 21, 2014 at the Satellite Hotel, where Quick Law, LLC’s Colorado Springs office is located.  Consequently, we have vacated the Satellite Hotel.

Some client originals (not all were in the Satellite office at the time of the fire) smell of smoke but none were lost or destroyed.  The firefighters broke the locks and doors of each office during their fire mitigation efforts.  The double glass doors of the A110 suites will still be locked after hours; however, an additional level of protection client originals and confidential information previously had no longer exists at the Satellite Hotel.  There are extensive remediation and remodeling efforts currently taking place at the Satellite Hotel which significantly impacts Quick Law, LLC’s operations and creates hazards for Quick Law, LLC staff and clients.

Client appointments will be re-located outside of the Satellite Hotel.  For clients with existing appointments or upcoming signing meetings, a home visit or appointment at a coffee shop or library, etc. will be arranged at no additional charge.  Clients in northern Colorado or who are not inconvenienced by the trip are welcome to meet at Quick Law, LLC’s office space at 19th and Grant in downtown Denver.

Prospective clients will be charged a $75.00 fee (which can be paid over the phone with any credit card or the appointment may be confirmed once a check or cash is received).  The $75.00 fee for the initial consultation will credited in full to any services engaged at the initial consultation.  If no additional services are engaged, the $75.00 fee covers the cost of the consultation.  A prospective client receives a great deal of legal advice during an initial consultation.  If a prospective client is not home at the time of their appointment, the $75.00 fee covers the ‘no show.’  Also, those in the Denver metro area are subject to a trip charge for home visits because there is an office in their area.

Quick Law, LLC can be contacted at 719-210-4202 or mquicklaw@rocketmail.com

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Why you shouldn’t add Your Kids to the Title of Your House

Many persons, especially seniors, wish to add their children to the title to their home as a means to pass their home on to their children without the need for probate.  While the wish to pass on their nest egg as an inheritance and do so as easily as possible is understandable, there are many disadvantages to doing so.  This applies whether the home is given entirely to the children or as joint tenants between the children and parent(s).

The parent(s) lose control over the home once it is titled in the children’s names.  The home cannot be mortgaged or given back to the parent(s) without the children signing off on it.  Once the children are put on title to the home, the home is up for grabs from the children’s creditors.  Though it is a situation one hopes will never happen, there have been many unfortunate instances where a parent was forced to leave their home because of their child’s creditors.

Additionally, a gift tax return should be filed with the IRS when the value of the child’s share of the home exceeds $14,000.00 this year.  There can be other negative tax consequences to the children as well.  The better solution is to place the home into a Trust or even a LLC.

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What is a Beneficiary Deed?

Beneficiary Deeds have been legally recognized in Colorado for the past decade.  Provided that it is recorded before a person’s death, it allows for real estate to pass to whomever one designates without probate.  A Beneficiary Deed has the tax advantages of no gift return needing to be filed and a stepped-up basis in the property upon the original owner’s death (for now).  It is an inexpensive way to avoid probate; however, in accordance with the adage that one gets what they pay for, there are serious disadvantages.

First of all, a Beneficiary Deed makes the owner ineligible for Medicaid, which is the benefit program used by most Americans to pay for their long-term care.  A majority of Americans will end up needing long-term care and, by extension, Medicaid, eventually.

Specific names must be listed on a Beneficiary Deed rather than merely a person’s children or grandchild because a generic description of a class of people requires Court determination.  Thus, if an additional grandchild is born they could easily get left out or if a child dies, the property will pass to their surviving children rather than to their children or spouse.  If an underage person inherits the property, a Conservator might have to be appointed for their share.  Further, it becomes difficult to manage cleaning out and selling or renting the property when multiple owners are involved and there are no clear duties for each one.

Moreover, those who inherit via a Beneficiary Deed can be personally responsible for the debts of the original owner for up to three years after their death; in which case, a creditor is likely to open up a probate anyway.  While a Beneficiary Deed allows one full control of the real estate during their lifetime, if control over what happens to the property after one’s death is desired, a Beneficiary Deed will not allow for that retained control; only a Trust or LLC will do so.  Hence, a Trust or LLC is recommended over a Beneficiary Deed in all but in a very narrow and uncommon set of circumstances.

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Can I just write my own Will and have it reviewed by an attorney?

With the advent of legal forms and computer software for drafting legal documents marketed to the general public, many people are writing their own estate plans in recent years. Estate plans can easily go awry if they do not have just the right language. Thus, many do-it-yourself (DIY) plans actually cause more problems than they solve and in the long-run are more expensive to fix than it would have been to hire an estate planning attorney to put together a comprehensive plan in the first place.

While it certainly is safer to have an attorney review a DIY plan than to go it alone with no professional review, the former course of action still might not save you time, effort or money. Most DIY plans do not have the right language. A typical review costs three or four figures. On top of that, a new document drafted by a law office will be recommended for any DIY documents found to deficient. Because most law offices use estate plans that are copyrighted and often subject to additional contractual restraints, you cannot simply be given the proper language to copy. Even in the rare events where there is statutory language you potentially could copy into your DIY documents by the time you go through an attorney review, you most likely have spent more time, effort and money than if you have contacted an estate planning attorney to prepare your estate plan for you from the beginning.

Quick Law, LLC can be contacted at 719-210-4202 or mquicklaw@rocketmail.com

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We now have a toll-free phone number

Quick Law, LLC now has a toll-free phone number: 855-935-5930. 

Nevertheless, we may still be contacted at 720-515-2259 in the Denver metro area and at 719-210-4202 in Southern Colorado.

All calls are handled the same regardless of which number you call. Different numbers are for the convenience of those who would have to pay extra for a long distance call.

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Does my lawyer endorse my views?

The ethical rules governing attorneys answers this question.  “A lawyer’s representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social or moral views or activities.” (Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(b))  An attorney may take a case because the client needs representation, not because the attorney agrees with the client’s actions.    

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What is the Difference between a Legal Separation and a Divorce?

In Colorado, the only legal difference is that remarriage is not permitted with a legal separation.  In contrast, after a divorce, or as it is known in Colorado, a dissolution of marriage, the parties can remarry.  Some parties choose a legal separation not just for religious reasons but also because it allows spouses to carry each other on their health insurance, which may be advantageous in certain circumstances.  

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