Probate is a process that can differ from state to state. This means that the laws which apply here in Colorado might not be the same as other places. With such variance in what applies, it’s just good sense to work with an estate planning attorney in Boulder County who will be up-to-date on all of the most recent information.
That said, there are some probate basics that everyone should understand.
The Will: Probate in Colorado is a court process to legally administer and close out an estate. Unless you have specific trusts in place, your estate will likely go through this process, even if you have a will. This is surprising news to some folks who thought that having a will would take care of everything and avoid the probate process in Colorado. Really, though, probate is used to ensure that the will is valid, as well as to distribute your assets according to the will.
Debts: If you have outstanding debts, the probate process is also a time for them to be paid. The court will take a look at your assets and debts and determine how those debts are to be paid. These debts are typically paid before your heirs receive their share of what is left. In some cases, a Colorado probate attorney can help you to reduce the number of assets that are vulnerable to being used for this purpose through the use of trusts.
The executor of the Estate: The person named as the executor (which may also be chosen by the courts, especially if you don’t have a will) is charged with gathering together all of your information to present during probate. This means that all of your accounts, assets, and debts need to be listed and submitted to the court in a timely manner. The executor will also be responsible for overseeing the distribution of your estate and for making sure that the court’s decisions are carried out.
Probate Lawyer: Even with a good an executor, however, hiring a probate lawyer in Colorado is a good idea, as he or she will be familiar with the process and can, therefore, save the heirs considerable time, frustration, and money for the estate.
The Process: Again, the probate process can vary, but in Boulder County, it will generally include the following:
- Papers will be filed by the executor or lawyer to start probate
- The will (if there is one) is presented along with a list of assets and debts
- Notification of the death is made to relatives and creditors
- The executor manages the assets for the estate for the duration of the probate process
- Property is distributed to the heirs
Speak to a Boulder County Probate Attorney If you are facing the probate process after the loss of a loved one, we encourage you to contact our office to begin the process of closing out his or her estate. Through compassionate guidance and hands-on legal help, we will ensure that your loved one’s affairs are properly taken care of so you can focus on your family and the healing process. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call Joe at 303-974-4400.