Understanding and Utilizing Colorado Probate Laws

Whether you’re currently dealing with the legal matters that follow the death of a loved one or if you just want to make sure that when you’re gone your family can take care of the legal matters of your estate in your absence, you really need to have at least a basic understanding of Colorado probate laws. Having such information and preparing for the inevitable ahead of time will save you and your family from unnecessary stress.

What Colorado Probate Law Is

Probate law is essentially the process of, or the way a person’s estate is handled when that person passes away. For legal purposes, when a person passes away they are referred to as a decedent. A decedent’s estate is basically everything that they have had full ownership of. This can include (but is not limited to) real estate, furniture, automobiles, assets in bank accounts and insurance policies. As part of the estate all these things are considered property assets.

Colorado probate laws involve the process flow of two things: First, making sure the decedent’s creditors are paid what they are owed and second, making sure that the decedent’s property assets are distributed to the decedent’s “heirs,” or descendants.

The decedent most like will have had a will written up in advance by an attorney or paralegal and that document will likely state how their assets are to be distributed to the heirs or descendants. You do not necessarily have to have your assets distributed to family members; anyone of a person’s choosing can be heirs but most of the time it is family members.

Colorado Probate Laws in Action

When someone passes away, a person acting as the executor of the estate (usually an attorney or a relative) files a petition or a legal request in a court to have the estate “opened” and have a judge formally recognize the person who is the executor (or executrix) of the estate. There is no difference between the two titles, other than one is male and the other female.

For the sake of simplicity we’ll use the term executor here. The executor is designated ahead of time in the decedent’s will. Colorado probate laws designate that the next step is for the executor to have a Notice of Creditors printed in a local newspaper (usually in the classified ad section). A Notice of Administration is then sent to creditors. This advises them that the decedent’s accounts are now in probate and the creditors have a specific amount of time to file a claim in court against the estate if they are owed money.

One of the protective aspects of Colorado probate laws are if the decedent owes a lot of money and has no assets to speak of that can be sold for cash (if there is no money to pay the creditors), the descendants and family members of the decedent are protected from legal action by the creditors and the creditors cannot sue them for the money owed.

Once creditors’ claims have been satisfied either by the executor paying them from the decedent’s assets and any other assets have been distributed to the decedent’s heirs in accordance to their will, the executor files a petition before a judge in court asking for the estate to be discharged. Assuming that is done so without any conflicting legal issues, at that point the estate is officially closed.

Having an Attorney Is Essential

The way they are described here Colorado probate laws may sound simple and sometimes it can be relative simple. But the act of the executor carrying out the act of settling the decedent’s estate is not always so easy. The executor must follow certain laws pertaining to settling one’s estate. And a conflict can arise if the decedent’s will is not in line with probate law.

For example: A decedent may state in their will that they wish for none of their bills to be paid and instead have all their assets liquidated or transferred to their heirs. The executor is in a bind in this situation because they are sworn by law to adhere to the personal wishes of the decedent and Colorado probate law at the same time. This is an example of why it is essential to have an attorney either act as the executor or at least be retained to act as the legal counsel to the executor in court.

Top 5 Online Accounting Programs

There is a growing demand for accountants worldwide and the number of accountants required in the workforce is set to increase by 16% by 2020 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). For those who relish the opportunity of increasing your career prospects in the comforts of your home, look no further. Here is the list of the top online accounting programs offered by prestigious universities with high employment rates post-graduation.

1. UAB Collat School of Business
Ranked as one of 2014’s “Best National Universities” by U.S. News & World Report
Ranked among the “Top 10 Universities in the United States for Diversity” for four consecutive years by The Princeton Review

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public university in Birmingham that attained its autonomy in 1969. It has accumulated multiple accolades since its establishment, amongst them was inclusion in the list of Best National Universities (Source: 2014 Annual Guide to America’s Best Colleges) and in the list of “Top 10 Universities in the United States for Diversity” (Source: The Princeton Review). The school of business capitalizes on its award-winning faculty members to provide students with an exceptional learning experience that focuses on developing skills necessary for the workplace.

Degree Specifications
The Bachelor of Science in Accounting offered by the University of Alabama in Birmingham is designed to give students a solid foundation in business, legal issues, accounting and financial matters. Students pursuing this degree may opt to take the following examinations Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in preparation for a career in accounting.

Accreditation
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) offers regional accreditation to the University of Alabama in Birmingham. The School of Business, meanwhile,is among 182 schools worldwide to be accorded an international accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business’s (AACSB).

2. Pennsylvania state world campus
Ranked #3 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report

Pennsylvania State University is a public university located in the state of Pennsylvania. Considered to be amongst the largest universities in the United States, it has over 45,000 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses. The Pennsylvania state world campus obtained accreditation in 1998 to provide online programs.

Degree Specifics
Pennsylvania State World campus provides a Bachelor of Science in Business degree with an Accounting option. Students completing this program will develop a diverse skill set that is applicable to any business field. This course also prepares students for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) examinations.

Accreditation
All programs offered by Pennsylvania state World Campus are accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

3. Washington State University
Washington University is a public university in the state of Washington that has been designated “very high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Founded in 1890, it has campuses in Pullman, Spokane, Tri-cities and Vancouver.

Programme Specifics
The online accounting major offered by Washington State University is designed to equip students to adapt to the changing needs of the world by fostering intellectual and professional development. Included in this degree is a 6-credit global learning requirement that can be met by by completing specified coursework or undertaking internships and overseas study.

Accreditation
WSU’s College of Business has obtained national accrediatation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

4. Colorado state university global campus
Ranked #16 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report
Ranked #1 for Best Online College by SuperScholar

Located in Fort Collins, Colorado State University is a public university with 8 colleges and 55 academic departments. The CSU-Global campus was started in 2007 to offer online programmes and is America’s first online public university to be awarded regional accreditation. It now has 5,600 students with active participation in online courses.

Degree Specifics
The Colorado State University Global Campus offers a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting designed to cultivate creative thinking, problem solving and analytical skills viewed as valuable assets in the financial world. This program adheres to and prepares students for the CPA examinations. Besides the general accounting courses, students may also choose to specialize in a certain field depending on their needs.

Accreditation
Colorado State University Global campus has obtained regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA-HLC)

5. Malcolm Baldrige School of Business at Post University
Post University is a private university founded in 1890 to offer commercial education training. It is now the largest provider of online education programmes in Connecticut with over 16,000 students enrolled in online degrees. Post University began offering online courses in 1996 and became the first college in Connecticut and New England to offer accredited online degree programmes. The School of Business is named after Malcolm Baldrige in a bid to continue his legacy of accumulating skills and competencies applicable in the business world and of lifelong learning.

Degree Specifications
The Bachelor of Science in Accounting offered by Malcolm Baldrige School of Business at Post University emphasizes practical skills that can be applied in the workplace over a wide range of disciplines rather than theoretical learning from textbooks 120 credits are required to complete this bachelor’s program. The faculty is made up of full-fledged accountants, individuals with extensive experience in their respective fields.

accounting services

Colorado Health Insurance Policies

Colorado health insurance policies are designed to provide health cover to individuals, self-employed, group of employees, the elderly and students. These policies are mainly intended to provide coverage to insured members in meeting their costs towards treatment, doctor visits, physician consultation, investigation, and operations besides the hospitalization costs.

If you are interested in an Individual policy, in Colorado you are subject to a medical review, and there is no guarantee that you will not be accepted. The insurance company may request your medical records from doctors and may exclude certain pre-existing medical conditions. They can also decline insuring you. Many plans will not cover maternity care, but you may be able to add it as a rider to the regular coverage. This will cost you more, but it’s worth it. Without this coverage, the huge expenses involved in maternity care can really scare away expectant parents and the joy may soon turn into a burden. Coverage for pre-existing conditions vary and depend on what condition you have and what insurance you are looking for.

Group insurance policies are guaranteed and there is no medical review. A qualifying business has to be accepted by providing tax information and other documents requested. Acceptance of a group policy is contingent on qualifying as a business, and being able to provide the necessary tax and other documents requested by the carrier.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) have been in effect Colorado since January 1st, 2004. This allows for a high deductible medical insurance policy with a special tax-deferred “Health Savings Account.” Anthem, Rocky Mountain Health plans, Fortis and United Healthcare, are just some of the Carriers that offer HSA compatible policies and many more are expected in the coming year.

When deciding on PPOs or HMO remember the differences. In an HMO your primary care physician is the one who has to refer you to specialists or other doctors. PPOs allow you to see other physicians without a referral. But, the doctor you see must be listed in the PPO network. PPOs are more expensive than HMOs. They both have pluses and minuses.

Colorado Health Insurance Quote – Instant Online Quotes

What type of health insurance quote are you looking for? Almost all major insurance companies are now offering quotes for HSA health insurance plans. HSA’s were first introduced in 2004 and have rapidly become a popular way to reduce health care costs.

Colorado Health Insurance Plans

What is an HSA? An (HSA) health insurance plan is a combination of a Health Savings Account and a (HDHP) High Deductible Health Plan. These two parts work together to provide an affordable health care plan for individuals and families.

HSA health plans typically feature a high deductible amount before the insurance company begins to pay benefits. The higher your deductible, the lower your monthly premium. You can choose a deductible from $500 up to $10,000 with some plans. A $3500 deductible seems to be a popular level for most people.

In order to pay the deductible amount, a health savings account is part of an HSA health insurance plan. With a portion of the savings you get from the high deductible insurance policy, you deposit money into your health savings account on a monthly basis. Many plans have this part built-in to the monthly premium. The money in your health savings account is tax-exempt and any unused portion is yours forever.

Colorado Free Instant Health Insurance Quotes

One of the best ways to learn more about Colorado health insurance is to go to an insurance quote website and request free quotes. Immediately after you complete their short form, you’ll get several low cost HSA, HMO, PPO, and POS quotes while still online. After you have your quotes, you can compare plans and visit their websites for more detailed information.

Colorado Owes Its Citizens More Than 50 Million Dollars

KCNC TV CBS 4 in Denver reported in May that State Treasurer Cary Kennedy is currently holding more than $50 million in Colorado unclaimed money. CO forgotten assets most commonly come from things like dormant checking accounts, utility refunds, stocks and bonds, oil and gas royalties, safe deposit boxes, uncashed insurance checks, dormant savings accounts, mutual funds, money orders, payroll wages, dividends, security deposits. People who may have had one or more of these accounts or other similar accounts are encouraged to search for unclaimed funds.

While it is tough for a lot of people to believe that their fellow citizens could just “forget” or abandon money that belongs to them, it is surprisingly common. So common in fact that many estimate the 7 out of every 10 Americans are due some type of claim, and Colorado residents are no exception.

Even though there are tens of billions of dollars in unclaimed property across the nation (tens of millions in Colorado alone), the vast majority of it is never claimed and millions more are added to the rolls each year. The primary reason is the fact that most people have never heard of unclaimed money and those that have don’t have the first clue about how to track them down and reclaim them as their own.

One of the first stumbling blocks that most searchers run in to is not knowing where to search. The truth is, there is no one web site to search on. In fact not all searches can be done online, so if you limit yourself to just the computer, you could be missing out on some cash.

Beyond not knowing where to search, many people looking for missing money believe that one search gets the job done. Aside from the fact that there is not one site that houses all records, all sites are continuously updating their records and the list of names of people owed money grows large each year in each state. In order to be confident you’ve located all potential claims you need to search regularly. Some people miss claims that were added to their state’s system because they were added the day, week, month, or year after they searched.

Many people who don’t live in and have never even been to Colorado are also owed CO unclaimed money for a variety of reasons. For example, if someone works for a company in their home state, but the company is incorporated in Colorado, things like lost payroll checks may be held by Colorado’s state treasury, while their home state will have no record of these funds. A similar issue arises when people have insurance through out of state companies. This is yet another reason that one search won’t cut it.

Any way you slice it, the state of Colorado is home to more mountains than just the Rockies, it is home to a multi-million dollar pile of abandoned cash. Everyone can agree that the citizens are much better at managing their money than any government agency, so anyone who believes they might have money coming to them need to take some initiative and being their search. Using tips from expert locators can help prevent people from making rookie mistakes that would otherwise prevent them from finding their money.

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Colorado Mortgages

Gold was discovered near Denver, Colorado, in 1858. Though the region has seen many economic ups and downs since then, it continues to attract tourists from around the world. Despite the high cost of living, more and people make Colorado their home. Mortgages are one thing that makes this possible.

The thriving Colorado Mortgage industry helps people’s dreams come true. According to Webster’s dictionary, the term “mortgage” means the process of “pledging of property to a creditor as security for the payment of a debt.” In plain terms, it is a legal agreement by which the lender says, “If you don’t pay the loan back along with all of the fees and interest, then we, the lender, can have your house.”

People apply for loans to meet large expenses like buying a house, purchasing a car, pursuing higher studies, or to handle emergency situations. When they apply for a loan, banks or lending agencies, known as “creditors,” require an evidence of ownership of some valuable property by the borrower. This is needed to prove that the borrower will be able to repay the loan without any problem. The borrower pledges the property to the lending bank when applying for the loan. If the borrower is not able to repay the loan according to the loan agreement, the lender may take possession of the borrower’s property.

As the first step in mortgaging, the borrower advertises details about his house [or any other valuable property] to the prospective buyer, most often, the loan advancing organization. In plain terms, he convinces the buyer to obtain a loan. Obtaining a mortgage loan depends upon the borrower’s Credit Profile or Credit Report. This is a documentation of how a borrower repaid any previous loans or met any previous financial obligations. It contains: Personal Identity Information, Employment Information, Credit Information, Public Record Information and References. The lending institution makes a very careful assessment of the documentation, plus the verification of the borrower’s bank deposits.

Most lenders use FICO credit scores when assessing the borrower’s credit report. According to FICO system, there are 5 factors that are weighted by lenders when assigning a credit score. They are: Borrower’s Payment History [Punctuality in repayment of any earlier loans] (35%), Amount that is owed by the borrower on various accounts (30%), Credit History Length [Length of Payment history] (15%), Borrower’s existing credit types and how they are used (10%), and New Credit [Number of recently opened accounts, and the ratio of these new accounts to that of total number of credit accounts] (10%). Though only worth 10%, the last mentioned factor is very important.

Colorado Health Insurance Companies

As the healthcare requirements of citizens are increasing, so is the cost of treatment for a number of diseases. Colorado health insurance companies are targeted to meet the specific needs of individuals and groups of employees by offering various health insurance plans.

In Colorado, Applied Financial Strategies Inc. (A.F.S.) is focusing its attention on reaching out to small businesses and individuals to help with their insurance needs. An independent insurance company, A.F.S. represents a variety of insurance companies. You can find them on the Internet, and it’s easy to get information and apply online. A.F.S. can deliver complete coverage at a reasonable cost. They will give you insurance quotes, coverage information, and the personal attention by a licensed health insurance professional. They offer individual medical HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), (PPO Preferred Provider Organization), and major medical health insurance plans for you and your family. They also offer group health policies and short term medical.

Many companies offer HAS accounts. This is a health savings account in Colorado that seems to be a cure for America’s health care concerns. There are two parts to HAS: The first is a high deductible major medical insurance program, and the second is a pre-tax bank account used to pay medical expenses when you need it. This type of arrangement works out for those individuals and families with additional income who can save for their future health requirements. Members will be able to make use of dollars saved in the account to pay the medical expenses and enjoy the tax benefits at the same time.

When trying to choose a health insurance plan the most important things to consider are the coverage and premium. Also, make sure that the doctor you have is covered under the policy you are looking at. Should you have a pre-existing condition, check on the Underwriting practices of the insurance company you are considering. Always check out and weigh the differences between several different companies.

Is It Effective Medicaid Planning In Colorado To Add Someone’s Name To Your Bank Account

Many people believe that adding someone’s name to your bank account can be an effective strategy for protection of assets when attempting to qualify for Colorado Medicaid. This is actually not the case, however. Consider the following situation:

Mrs. Jones’ husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease three years ago and the disease has progressed to the point where he needs long-term nursing home care.

At the time of the diagnosis, she talked to some friends of the family who told her to go ahead and add the kids names to her bank accounts and mutual funds as a way to protect those assets from Medicaid. Now that her husband is in the nursing home she wonders
whether she did the right thing.

Adding someone else’s name to a bank account or mutual fund does NOT transfer the ownership on that account. If Mrs. Jones had a bank account with $20,000 and she added her daughter’s name to the account, the state would say that her daughter’s name was added for convenience purposes only. In other words, the entire account still belongs to Mrs. Jones. So even though the child’s name has been added, the practical effect, from a Colorado Medicaid standpoint, is that there has been no gift and the entire account still belongs to Mrs. Jones.

This is true whether we are talking about bank accounts, certificates of deposit, savings bonds, mutual funds or any other liquid asset. The law says there is no gift until the child actually takes the money out of the account. In other words, using this same example, if Mrs. Jones added her daughter’s name to the account three years ago, there has been no gift made. If her daughter later takes some money out of the account and moves it into her own name, then the gift is made at the time the daughter takes the money out of the account.

This general rule is not true where real estate is concerned. That’s because if someone’s name is added to real estate, at the time the deed is signed and recorded, then a completed gift has been made.

Whether or not it makes sense to add someone’s name to real estate or financial assets depends upon the facts and circumstances of each particular case, and laws can vary from state to state. Be sure to seek the advice of a competent professional before proceeding.

Why Smart People Are Buying Health Savings Accounts

No doubt about it, Colorado health insurance can get pretty expensive. In these difficult economic times, it’s hard to fit insurance premiums into the family budget. Which is why instead of getting traditional health insurance, more and more Colorado residents are turning to health savings accounts (HSA). The reason: instead of paying insurance companies for a service that they may not use, they create a stable asset that grows year-over-year, and acts as a standby fund for emergency medical needs when they occur. In short, health savings accounts combine health insurance and investment.

There are two parts to obtaining an HSA. The first part is a high-deductible Colorado health insurance policy. As of 2009, the IRS defines as high-deductible any health insurance plan with a minimum deductible of $1,150 for single-coverage and $2,300 for a family, as well as a maximum out-of-pocket of $5,800 for single-coverage and $11,600 for family coverage. To get such an insurance plan, just approach a qualified agent or get an online quote from a health insurance website.

Once you have an HSA-qualified policy, you’re eligible for the second part: a health savings account for covering present and future medical expenses. Anyone under 65 may open one with an accredited Colorado health insurance company that offers HSAs.

An HSA can be funded by an employee, an employer, or both. As of 2010, the maximum contribution is $3,050 for single-coverage and $6,150 for families. For seniors 55 years and above, they are allowed to pay “catch up” contributions of up to $1,000 to their accounts. HSAs are open to anyone with a qualified high-deductible plan, including employers of any size, employees, and the self-employed.

You can get a high-deductible health insurance plan without getting an HSA, but as you will see, HSAs have significant advantages that will appeal to the smart buyer:

Numerous tax advantages. First off, all the deposits you make to your HSA are tax-deductible – that is, you can exclude them from your gross taxable income. Second, any interest you earn from your HSA is tax-exempt. Third, when you use your funds to pay HSA-qualified expenses, like doctor’s fees, prescription medicines, and so on, those too are tax-exempt. Lastly, in the event of death, your remaining funds are transferred to your designated beneficiary-tax-free.

Your HSA is a permanent plan. A health savings account endures even when you change your employment status. That is, you get to keep the funds you’ve accumulated even after you leave your job. This applies even if your employer has contributed to your fund.

Your funds may be used as savings. Because of the tax benefit on the interest, you can let your cash grow over the years. Moreover, unlike with a flexible savings account (FSA), any unused funds in your HSA is rolled over to the next year. By the time you reach the age of 65, you can withdraw your funds without penalty and use it however you want. This makes your HSA an excellent means of augmenting your retirement fund, so long as you stay healthy.

Tips For Buying Colorado Health Insurance

Getting your hands on the best Colorado health insurance you can afford may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be when you know what you’re doing. Read on for some tips to help you find the best Colorado health insurance plan for your budget.

Know your options

To obtain a plan, you can either buy individual health insurance or you can get group health insurance through your employer. There are several kinds of plans to choose from. Here is a brief primer.

FFS (Fee-for-Service) – A fee-for-service plan will pay a specific amount for each service rendered by your health care provider. There are limits, called “allowable amounts”, that the plan can pay. You should clarify these limits and other details with your insurance company. FFS plans are not very popular in Colorado because, in general, we have good access to PPO and HMO networks. As such, you can usually get a better value by opting for a PPO or HMO plan.
HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) – In this plan type, you are limited to the health care providers within the HMO network and often times are assigned to a primary care physician (PCP). Your PCP helps to “manage your healthcare”.
PPO (Preferred-Provider Organization) – This plan resembles that of an HMO, except that you may use providers outside of the network, although at lesser rates and benefits than any of the preferred providers. In addition, with a PPO you generally have the flexibility to see any specialist without first having to get a referral from your PCP.
HSA (Health Savings Account) – A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax advantaged savings account that allows you to set aside money for health care. This savings account is paired with a high deductible health insurance plan – the result being affordable yet comprehensive health coverage.

Study and compare plans

Given that you have a wide variety of plans to select from, don’t just get what your neighbor, co-worker, or best friend got. Each person has different needs and your insurance should be capable of meeting those needs when the time comes. Ideally, you should base your choice on these criteria:

the quality of the medical care you will receive
the coverage of your plan
how much your premiums will cost

Consider all these factors and weigh the cost with the benefits. Don’t shortchange yourself by getting affordable health insurance but with mediocre coverage – when the worst happens, you’ll be the one left holding the bag.

Look for alternatives

Having a hard time getting insured? Getting adequate health insurance in Colorado depends in some ways on your current health, family, and employment status. If you find that you have been denied or can’t afford health insurance, don’t despair. There are several programs you can turn to.

Medicaid – You may qualify for this if you already have a pre-existing condition and are in a low income bracket. Find out if you are eligible for Medicaid by contacting the Colorado Medicaid Program at 1.800.221.3943 or 1.800.659.2656.
Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) — Colorado provides plans for children from low income families through the CHP+. There are several rules pertaining to income brackets and family sizes.
Medicare – Another program you can turn to if you have a pre-existing condition or disability. Normally you would have to be 65 years of age or older to qualify, but you still can access this program if you have a condition that is expected to last more than one year or is considered fatal.
CoverColorado — This is a state-run program that sells health insurance to a select number of high-risk individuals–people turned down by other Colorado health insurance companies due to a serious medical condition or disability.

Get Expert Advice

Let’s face it, health insurance policies can be hard to comprehend without some guidance. In Colorado, as anywhere, the right advice can give you the coverage you want while saving you hundreds (or thousands) of dollars a year. You can get advice from two sources: a good agent or a health insurance website.

You can source a good agent from friends and family members. As a criteria, a good agent won’t just help you find the right policy; they will provide service before, during, and after the policy has been sold. That means helping you helping you update your plan, being upfront about the rules and limits of your coverage, and helping you sort out claims issues if and when the need arises. In addition, a good agent will monitor your policy over the years to ensure that you are still getting the best value for your premium investment.

Understandably, some people don’t have time to go from agent to agent. If that’s the case, a health insurance website is the way to go. Look for an insurance website that is backed by a well-established insurance agency that offers a variety of services, and who are tried and tested experts on Colorado health insurance.

Read Your Policies

In the end, its all about knowing what you own. Don’t rely on blind faith that you’re getting the right health plan for your money. If you’re not sure about the terms, clauses and limits in the document, talk to an expert about it. And finally, don’t be afraid to say no. As Warren Buffett said, “If you don’t feel comfortable owning something for 10 years, then don’t own it for 10 minutes.”

Chosen well, your health insurance can save your life and preserve your family’s standard of living. It’s worth doing and it’s worth doing right.