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Evergreen, Colorado 80439

(303) 674-0800

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(303) 674-0800

32065 Castle Court, Suite 150

Evergreen, Colorado 80439

(303) 674-0800

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Mechanics’ Liens Rights and Obligations

Whether you are a general contractor, subcontractor, or home or business owner, you are likely at some time to be affected by a mechanics’ lien.  In Colorado, these liens are governed by statute:  Title 38, Article 22 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.

A lien is a legal claim, or security interest, on an item of property which is intended to secure the payment of a debt.  Labor- and service-providers may secure payment for the work they perform on real estate through a mechanics’ lien.  The range of people who may protect their right to payment through a mechanics’ lien is very broad:  “Every person who furnishes or supplies laborers, machinery, tools, or equipment in the prosecution of the work, and mechanics, materialmen, contractors, subcontractors, builders, and all persons of every class performing labor upon or furnishing directly to the owner or persons furnishing labor, laborers, or materials to be used [. . .], and also architects, engineers, draftsmen, and artisans who have furnished designs, plans, plats, maps, specifications, drawings, estimates of cost, surveys, or superintendence, or who have rendered other professional or skilled service, or bestowed labor in whole or in part, describing or illustrating, or superintending such structure, or work done or to be done, or any part connected therewith.”  C.R.S. 38-22-101(1)

There is, however, a statutorily prescribed process for securing this interest.  Within four months after “the day on which the last labor is performed or the last laborers or materials are furnished,” the lien claimant must record with the appropriate county a statement containing the name of the property owner, the name of the lien claimant, a description of the property, and amount due to the claimant.  And at least ten days before recording such statement, the claimant must serve a notice of intent to file a lien statement upon the owner of the property and the principle contractor on the project.

During that four month period, a lien claimant may record a notice with the county clerk and recorder that the claimant may file a lien statement.  This notice extends the time for filing a lien statement to the lesser of four months following completion of the improvements or six months following recording the notice.  Subsequent notices may be filed thereafter, if the improvements remain uncompleted, which notices will also extend the time for filing by six months.

Within six months following the last work or labor performed or supplied, unless extended by notice, the lien claimant must commence a foreclosure action.  The lien claimant should take care that the lien is not for an amount greater than is due, though, as such claimant could be liable “to the person against whom the lien was filed in an amount equal to the costs and all attorney’s fees.” C.R.S. 38-22-128.

There are, of course, exceptions and amendments to the above, depending on the specific circumstances of the project and lien claimant.  There may be defenses to the lien, the lien may not be valid against a government entity, and there may be a bond against which claims can be made in lieu of filing a lien.

With all of the variety and complexity involved, you should contact the professionals at Toussaint & Coaty, P.C. for advice on your mechanics’ lien issue today.

2018 Update to 529 Plans

With the passage of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), an old tool in the tax- and estate-planning toolbox has received an update – the 529 plan. Named for Internal Revenue Code 26 U.S.C. § 529, these are generally tax-advantaged savings plans that encourage saving for future education expenses of a designated beneficiary. Since 2001, qualified distributions from 529 plans have been exempt from federal income tax when used for qualified higher education expenses.

The biggest change to 529 plans that the TCJA brings is an expansion to include K-12 public, private, and religious school tuition and other expenses. Starting January 1, 2018, families will be able to withdraw up to $10,000 per year from a 529 plan to pay for pre-college students’ qualified school expenses.

The greatest immediate value will be for parents who already have funded plans, as they will be able to reap the interest and tax benefits of those prior contributions before their children begin college. Nevertheless, parents of school-age and younger children will still be able to see benefits from the change, as contributions to 529 plans are tax-deductible. Withdrawals from these plans are permitted for non-qualified expenses, such as medical expenses or unrelated living expenses, but such withdrawals are subject to income tax and a 10% early-withdrawal penalty on the gains. This penalty is waived under certain circumstances, such as the death or indefinite disability of the beneficiary.

529 plans are administered by each state individually, and Colorado currently has four plans, although this may change with passage of the TCJA. The four current plans are: Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan, Scholars Choice Savings Plan, Smart Choice College Savings Plan, and Stable Value Plus College Saving Program. Each of these is managed by College Invest, a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

The landscape of tax- and estate-planning is constantly shifting, and it’s important to get the best legal and financial advice you can. Let the professionals at Toussaint & Coaty, P.C. help you with your legal planning needs.

Mandatory Disclosures in Divorce and Child Disputes in Colorado

Domestic Relations, or Family Law cases, in Colorado can take several forms. Dissolution of Marriage is an original divorce proceeding. Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (or “APR”) is how unmarried co-parents obtain court orders regarding their children. Modifications of child support, parenting time, decision making and other matters can be filed after a completed Dissolution or APR matter. These “post decree” actions also require the mandatory disclosures required in original Dissolution or APR actions.

Mandatory disclosure is a Colorado family law term referring to the production of a financial affidavit and financial documents required pursuant to Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 16.2. This rule applies to all initial and post decree family law actions like divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities (custody for never married co-parents), and all later modification actions. A financial affidavit must always be filed in cases to which the rule applies, and a child support worksheet is also required in cases involving children and child support.

Each party must gather and disclose to the other party the documents required by the mandatory disclosure rule and provide a certificate of compliance with the mandatory disclosure rule representing to the court what types of documents they have provided to the other party. Mandatory disclosure documents include pay stubs, tax returns, credit card statements, bank account statement, deeds, promissory notes, self employment/business documents and similar financial documents.

In an original or post decree matter the rule requires that mandatory disclosure be completed within 42 days of service of the initial pleading unless there is an objection to the disclosure, agreement of the parties to a later deadline or an order of the court extending this deadline.

The parties have a continuing duty to update their financial affidavit and documents whenever there is a material change in their financial circumstances.

If you have questions about your family case or the requirements of mandatory disclosure contact the experienced attorneys at Toussaint & Coaty who can help you through this extremely difficult and emotional time in your life.

Estate Planning for Subsequent Marriages

Married clients who are planning their estates when they have previously married have unique challenges and issues.  This is especially true if there are children of the current marriage, the past marriage or both.  Usually the re-married parents want all their children to inherit a portion of the estate.  It becomes even more complicated because people are living longer and “gray divorce” or divorce among spouses who are over 50, is the fastest growing divorcing group.  Add in the fact that older people usually have more significant and substantial assets, it makes a great deal of sense to work with us to go over all of your estate planning needs.  After meeting with us, many clients learn that a trust may be the best way to achieve estate planning goals.  Likewise, some clients learn that a trust is simply too expensive and is not necessary to achieve the goals the client has defined.

Regardless of where you are on the wealth spectrum, it is important to sit down with a quality estate planning attorney to make sure your estate plan is current, accurate and achieves your goals.

The Pitfalls of Online Estate Planning Services

Why not use an online service to draft your important estate planning documents? While it is true that online services are extremely inexpensive and fast, you get what you pay for…a subpar product that may not fit your needs. Online services are incomplete services; they have severe drawbacks, and can even contravene your estate planning goals! Without an attorney to review your assets, family situation, recent life changes, Colorado law and other factors, you could be making blunders in estate planning by using an online service without even knowing it.

Only a live attorney can recognize the individual needs that affect your estate planning documents, unlike a computer program or website. Attorneys do not just take your identifying information and put it in a form; they get to know you, your individual situation, your family situation and your estate planning goals, and then develop a plan, with you, to accomplish those goals.

Live attorneys can also alert you to tax consequences of certain estate plans, beneficiary designation issues, how non-probate transfers can be used in your estate plan and other factors specific to you that can affect your plan. An attorney can analyze the character and value of your assets and advice you on how to accomplish your goals for those assets. Speak with a live, Colorado licensed attorney who can help you develop a plan that is specific to you.

Finally, how safe do you think your personal information is on an online estate planning site? Is the online site secure? Is there a human being who is responsible to you for protecting your privacy and taking care of your needs? Colorado licensed attorneys have an ethical obligation to protect your privacy and can be punished, up to and including disbarment, for failing to protect your private information. We take your privacy seriously. Speak with one of the experienced professionals at Toussaint & Coaty about your estate planning needs.