It’s one of those daunting words that can strike a feeling of trepidation, panic and downright perplexity in people.
Probate is a legal process that is carried out by the courts after a person dies with (or without) a formal will. Depending on the size of your estate – and the level of complexity of your assets and provisions in your will (or how the courts distribute your estate according to the Colorado laws of intestacy) – the probate process in Colorado can be either quick and simple or lengthy and complicated.
Colorado does not require that you hire a lawyer to handle the probate of a will. If you are named the executor of a will, you can actually handle the entire process on your own if you have the time and know the steps to take. The problem is that going into the probate process you may not know how everything will work out – and what roadblocks might pop up. This is where a probate lawyer in Denver can help.
Duties of a Probate Attorney
- Advise the executor of their fiduciary duties that are owed to the beneficiaries
- Complete and file all necessary paperwork with the courts
- Advise the executor of the taxation issues associated with the estate
- Ensure all assets are properly distributed to the beneficiaries
- Settle creditor claims
- Advise the executor on which outstanding bills, debts, taxes, etc. should be paid
- Ensure the appointed executor is acting in the best interests of the estate
- Notify the beneficiaries, heirs and creditors of the person’s passing and that the probate estate has been opened
Depending on the level of complexity in your specific case, you may simply need a transactional probate attorney for straightforward wills or a probate litigator for more contentious situations. You may be able to work with your attorney and also handle some of the probate duties on your own.
The Probate Loophole
If you want to help your family avoid the probate process entirely, you can set up a living trust instead of a will. Living trusts are not required to go through probate. However, you may wish to enlist the help of an estate planning lawyer to create your living trust to ensure it is properly prepared and funded.
The Denver estate administration lawyers at The Brown Law Firm LLC can serve as either a transactional or probate litigation attorney on your behalf. Our goal is always to help streamline the process during this very difficult and emotional time and also to ensure that your loved one’s estate is protected as much as possible. Contact The Brown Law Firm LLC at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to learn more about how we can help.