Probate is the legal process by which the estate of a deceased individual is distributed. It can be confusing and time consuming for those who are not familiar with the process, simply because most people don’t have a lot of experience dealing with probate issues. For this reason alone, having a great Monument & Colorado Springs Probate Attorney on your side can make the probate process as straightforward and as stress-free as possible.
Colorado has a very simplified probate process, but it is still advisable to have an understanding of how it works. This knowledge will also put you at ease and give you confidence that things are proceeding properly and fairly as you work your way through the process. There are several basic things about probate that everyone should know.
If a valid Will exists, it will nominate a Personal Representative (called an Executor in other states), who will oversee the probate process to ensure both the Will and Colorado law are followed. The nominated Personal Representative does not have the authority to act on behalf of the deceased individual until actually appointed by the Court. If the deceased individual has not left a Will, the Court determines who to appoint as the Personal Representative. A Monument & Colorado Springs probate attorney is an expert in creating a Will to help make the probate process much easier for your loved ones.
Probate is dealt with in a probate court, although most Colorado probates require no actual court appearances. During the probate process, creditors of the estate will be given an opportunity to make a claim on any unpaid debt. If a claim is disputed, the court will determine the validity of the claim and order a payout from the estate if necessary. The probate process could take anywhere from six months to a year in average cases, and even longer with more complex estates. A Colorado probate attorney is familiar with all aspects of the probate process in Monument & Colorado Springs.
Not all of a person’s assets will be subject to probate. Those accounts with a designated beneficiary, such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts, will be passed on to that beneficiary without the need of going through the probate process. Assets held in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship (JTWROS) will also avoid probate. Before making beneficiary designations or titling assets in JTWROS, it is always important to speak with a qualified estate planning attorney or probate attorney. Many times, such action can accomplish the goal of avoiding probate, but defeat many other of the estate planning goals and objectives.
It is possible to lessen the length of the probate period or even avoid it altogether through proper estate planning. Estate planning through an experienced Monument & Colorado Springs probate attorney can lessen the burden on loved ones once you are gone and ensure that your estate is disposed of according to your wishes. Whether probate is needed or not, hiring an experienced probate attorney whom you can trust will ease the burden and make the whole procedure as seamless as possible.
Don’t go through the probate process alone – contact The Vinton Law Firm today to get the best Monument & Colorado Springs probate attorney working for you!