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Let’s Talk About Probate: A Step-by-Step Process

The passing of a relative or loved one can have a profound impact. Not only is it an emotionally difficult experience, but you may have to face legal challenges surrounding their death. Probate is the legal process that determines how a deceased person’s assets and liabilities will be handled.

In most cases, families seek to avoid probate because it can be complicated, time consuming, and drive a wedge between the decedent’s heirs. If you are about to go through probate, this is what you need to know about the process.

The Basic Steps of Probate

  1. A loved one or family member is chosen to manage the decedent’s estate. If there is a will, then the representative is named there as the executor. When someone passes away without a will, the probate courts will choose someone to act as the personal representative or special administrator.

  2. Next, the will is proven valid by the court of law. State laws handle the probate process, and you must follow all mandatory requirements for signatures and notaries. Hiring a probate attorney will ensure that you meet those requirements.

  3. The deceased’s property will then be inventoried and appraised. If there are any debts and taxes owed by the decedent, they must be paid.

  4. Any remaining assets are issued as followed in their will. However, if there is no will, the state law will handle distribution.

How to Avoid Probate

Avoiding probate is possible by following the steps below:

  • Create a living trust that determines where your future assets are placed that are overseen by a trustee. This person will be the one to carry out the directives included in your trust in the event that you pass away.

  • Specify your financial accounts as “payable on death” and choose a beneficiary with your bank. This is the arrangement between a financial institution and a client that designates beneficiaries to receive all of a client’s assets, triggered by their death.

  • Establish joint tenancy on your assets. Having someone, like your spouse, as the co-owner of your home or vehicle will ensure that your assets go to someone you trust if you pass away.

Contact a Centennial Probate Attorney Today

We are here to provide compassionate and experienced legal guidance about the probate process. Our skilled attorney, Krista Beauchamp, has dedicated her services to estate planning and can answer all your questions regarding probate matters in Colorado.

If you have more questions about estate planning or the probate process, do not hesitate to reach out to our team. Contact us at (303) 647-4245 today to schedule your free consultation.