If you own property, a will and other estate planning tools like trusts can make decisions easier for your loved ones if something happens to you. Planning ahead by having the proper estate plan -just in case- can make it so that your final wishes about your possessions will be honored.  The alternative is to have the State determine what happens to your property.  Why risk leaving your loved ones to deal with a lengthy formal court proceeding to administer your estate? Why risk increased tax liabilities by not planning ahead?  Whether you need a will drafted for the first time or need to update a previous will or trust due to changes in family, tax or other life changing  circumstances, Smith, Shelton and Ragona, LLC, can assist clients in every stage of the estate planning process. The following are examples of estate planning tools we utilize:

1.      The appropriate estate planning documents to accommodate different family situations and different estate values

2.      Revocable and non-revocable trusts

3.      Planning and utilizing estate tax exemptions/credits and marital deduction formulas to reduce estate and gift taxes whenever possible

4.      Living wills

5.      Powers of attorney

6.      Medical Durable Power of Attorney

7.      Trusteeships, fiduciary, conservatorship, guardianship and personal representative issues

8.      American Indian wills, trusts and estates

In addition, we can help clients with the administration of a decedent’s estate, including probate of wills and intestate estates (estates without wills) and advising personal representatives with the administration of an estate.

Please call us at 303-255-3588 to set up an initial interview and to find out more about our wills, trusts and estates law practice.

Please NOTE: The information in this flyer is intended to inform you about our practice; it is not intended to be an advertisement. Please also note that the information in this flyer is not intended to be legal advice and that this flyer in no way creates an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship may only be created with Smith, Shelton and Ragona, LLC via a written contract of representation.

Snapshot of the American Indian Probate Reform Act and the Importance of a Will

            The American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA) (P.L. 108-374; 118 Stat. 1773) was enacted in 2004.  AIPRA applies to American Indians who: (1) are members of a tribe or are eligible for membership, (2) meet the definition of “Indian”; (3) owned a trust interest as of October 27, 2004, and (4) died on or after June 20, 2006.  AIPRA does not apply to members of the Five Civilized Tribes or the Osage Tribe who own land that is in restricted fee status.  AIPRA applies if both: 1) a person did not have a will when he/she passed on and 2) if the tribe did not have an approved tribal probate code.  AIPRA applies to IIM accounts, to trust property where the tribe has NOT adopted an approved tribal probate code, and when the tribe has not adopted a probate code and the 5% interest rule applies.  AIPRA does not apply to non-trust property, personal possessions and/or money. 


            It is important to write a will, especially if you have property that will fall under AIPRA.  If you do not write a will, AIPRA may require that your trust property pass first to your spouse and children, followed by grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and if you have no heirs, then to your parents, or brothers and sisters as long as they meet the definition of Indian or are a descendant within two generations. 


If you do not write a will, and have less than 5% interest in a whole parcel of land, then your spouse may live in the family home on the parcel.  After your spouse passes on, that less than 5% interest will go to the eldest eligible child, then to the eldest eligible grandchild, and then to the eldest eligible great-grandchild.  You will not be able to leave your trust property to any other person.  Furthermore, if you have a less than 5% interest in a whole parcel of land, the DOI may purchase it for fair market value during the probate proceeding without the consent of your heirs. The property will not pass to your heirs at all in this case.   


The best way to ensure that your property will pass to the people you want is for you to have a will.

What if you are suspected of DUI or taken to the Police Station in Colorado?



1. An officer has the right to request your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.

2. If you are suspected of drunk driving (DUI) and refuse to take a breathalyzer test, your driver’s license will be suspended. If anyone suspected of DUI refuses to take a breathalyzer test, which is preceded by an “express consent” acknowledgement by the officer, it will result in an automatic one-year revocation of your driver’s license in Colorado.  Additionally, you have a limited amount of time to request a hearing before the Colorado DMV after a DUI citation.

3. As of July 1, 2010, a new law was passed that imposes stricter penalties on repeat offenders.  Now a ten day minimum jail sentence is mandated for one’s second drunk driving offense and a 60 day minimum jail sentence for third and subsequent offenses.


1. You have the right to remain silent and to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police.

2. You have the right to ask for a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you at no cost (defendants of certain misdemeanors may not receive an attorney at no cost, but may hire an attorney).

3. Within a reasonable time after your arrest or booking, you have the right to make a local phone call: to a lawyer, bail bondsman, a relative or any other person. The police may not listen in on the phone call.

This information should not be used to predict the outcome of any particular legal case. Rather, you should consult your own attorney about your individual case. This information is not intended to be legal advice and its inclusion on this website in no way creates an attorney-client relationship. Smith, Shelton & Ragona, LLC require that you enter into a written representation agreement before you become our client. Smith, Shelton & Ragona, LLC, does not guarantee that the content on this website is accurate, complete or up-to-date because the law changes over time. Please consult an independent attorney of your choice before taking legal action or relying on the content of this website. Finally, please note that Colorado does not certify attorneys as specialists in any field.