Colorado Probate Attorney
Settling the estate of a deceased loved one
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process required in Colorado for settling the estate of someone who has passed away. This includes distributing the property of the decedent to their designated beneficiaries or heirs and paying off any debts owed to creditors.
As an experienced Colorado probate lawyer, I can provide compassionate and knowledgeable representation while guiding you through this difficult legal and personal process.
What Property Is Subject to Probate?
During probate, the property of a deceased person is distributed to their heirs and devisees (beneficiaries, as outlined in their legal will). These assets are divided into two categories:
“Real” property — this includes the decedent’s real estate assets, such as their home, farm, ranch, or mineral rights.
Personal property — this includes the decedent’s personal assets, such as cars, trucks, bank accounts, home furnishings, clothes, and jewelry.
There are several types of assets that are not required to go through the probate process, as the property transfers automatically upon the death of the owner. Some examples include:
Property held in joint tenancy — Some property, such as a home belonging to a husband and wife, is held in joint tenancy. When one joint tenant dies, the surviving tenant immediately becomes the sole owner of the asset. This is known as the right of survivorship.
Beneficiary designations — Retirement accounts and life insurance policies already have named beneficiaries. When the account owner or policyholder dies, the beneficiaries are entitled to the proceeds of the life insurance policy or the assets in the retirement account.
How Does Probate Work?
Probate is required whenever someone dies with assets that did not pass automatically to beneficiaries. If the individual died with a valid will (known as “testate”), the property of the estate is distributed according to the will. If they died “intestate,” or without a valid will, the property is distributed to the heirs according to state law.
Small Estate Affidavit
There is one exception to the requirement for probate: if the decedent did not own any real property and the value of the estate is no more than $70,000, you can swear out a Small Estate Affidavit and avoid having to go through probate in court.
How Can I Help?
There’s a lot to take care of when a loved one dies — the last thing you want to do is navigate the complex legal minefield of probate on your own. As an experienced Colorado probate attorney, I’m sensitive to the fact I’ll be working with you during the early stages of your difficult grieving process, so I approach these cases not only with knowledge and competence, but with patience and compassion as well.
Here are the services I offer:
Estate Administration — I can represent the estate and the personal representative, as well as a specific family member, to make sure that the estate is being handled appropriately.
Executor Representation — If you have been named as executor in someone’s will, I can provide legal representation during probate.
Beneficiary Representation — If you are named a beneficiary in the decedent’s will, or if you are an heir of someone who died intestate, I can provide legal representation during probate to ensure your rights are protected and the executor of the estate is fulfilling their fiduciary obligations.
Give me a call today to discuss your options!