Even if you have a will, sometimes your estate will have to go through probate which is a court proceeding that ensures your assets are distributed among your chosen beneficiaries. This can end up being a very lengthy and sometimes expensive process for your loved ones to endure. Luckily there are ways to avoid probate of your will:
- Death beneficiaries: accounts, securities or property that list a named beneficiary will automatically be transferred to those people upon your death
- Revocable living trusts: you transfer your property into the revocable trust and a trustee manages the assets in the trust for your benefit (the trust can be revoked at any time)
- Joint property ownership: upon your death, the property is automatically transferred to the living co-owner
- Gifts: prior to your death, you give your property to another person (gift taxes may apply)
Why Probate is a Dreaded Word
The reason probate processes can be so lengthy is because many different steps must be taken to protect your assets. The more extensive the estate, the longer this process can take. Court costs and lawyer fees can add up quickly and maintenance costs of certain estate possessions can accumulate.
The Probate Executor’s Role
The court will identify or appoint an executor (known as a personal representative in Colorado) to oversee the process. The executor’s role is to:
- Identify and locate any beneficiaries or heirs
- Account for all assets mentioned in the will
- Ensure all financial obligations are met (debts paid, etc.)
- Distribute the assets accordingly
- Hire a probate attorney if necessary
The more you do to state your wishes in a will and protect your assets the better off your loved ones will be after you are gone.
To learn more about probate law in Denver and different ways you can avoid the probate process through a well-drafted estate plan, contact The Brown Law Firm LLC. Our Denver probate lawyers can explain the process and help you set up trusts and other legal documents to protect your estate. Contact us today: call (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online.