Probate is a type of court supervision whose sole concern is to insulate an estate from outside forces so that a decedent’s wishes can be respected and conducted.
Colorado estate planning lawyers can make sure that a testator’s voice is maintained in a will when it is formally written, and set up a trust that will dictate what happens to property, who will raise minor children, and how an individual will spend their last days, in the event of long-term illnesses where an individual may not be able to speak for themselves. Professionally written estate planning documents can provide security to a testator as they name a trusted person to conduct their prescribed wishes (executor). The legal services of an estate planning lawyer may reduce time and costs related to the distribution of assets and settling of an estate despite beneficiaries who may contest a will.
When someone dies in Colorado their estate must be settled through probate court action. Probate is a type of court supervision whose sole concern is to insulate an estate from outside forces so that a decedent’s wishes can be respected and conducted. Estates are qualified in three categories and that dictates how they are managed as they move through the probate court system.
- Formal probate includes maximum court intervention and could take six months or longer. This is usually required because a will is unclear in certain areas and needs some supervision.
- Informal probate will look to have as little mediation as possible. Estates that are not expected to be contested by the heirs are commonly afforded informal probate.
- Small estate offers the simplest and cheapest form of probate, only estates worth less than $70,000 can claim this. However, if the decedent owned any sort of real property, the estate must apply for normal probate.
A Colorado Springs estate planning lawyer will administer a will including duties of paying off creditors, burial costs, and upkeep on estate property, in addition to paying fees for professionals who perform services for the benefit of the estate such as appraisals, grounds maintenance, cleaning, etc.
A last will and testament can only direct estate owned assets and property. Interested parties to a Colorado probate action should consult with a tax lawyer about the impacts of non-probate assets that include those assets that have pre-designated beneficiaries, or joint interest with the right of survivorship that pass automatically to the named individual(s) upon a person’s death.
Colorado is one of several states that allows for beneficiary deeds where the owner of real property can designate one or more beneficiaries who will own the property upon the death of the original owner. A beneficiary deed can make real property that would otherwise be a probate asset a beneficiary asset.
Seek legal counsel
The size of an estate, considerations to exempt probate assets, the named beneficiaries and other entanglements surrounding a Last Will and Testament require the assistance of experienced lawyers who understand the state and federal laws that will impact its administration.