What is the Purpose of Probate?

The rules governing probate are dictated by state law. When someone passes away, if there is a will or other legally binding document that outlines how they wanted their assets distributed, then probating the estate may not be necessary. However, if there is no formal documentation in place or if any of the decedent’s heirs challenge how assets were originally handled after death, then a probate proceeding is required by law. The purpose of this process is to ensure that all debts and bills are paid off and any remaining assets are divided according to the decedent's wishes. It also allows anyone who may have an interest in certain parts of an estate to come forward with a claim before distribution can occur. Whether you need to probate an estate depends on numerous factors so it's essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in probate law to determine what actions are necessary for your situation.

Three Common Probate Myths

The probate process in Colorado can be confusing and intimidating, especially when you're dealing with myths about how it works. Unfortunately, these misconceptions can lead to costly mistakes if you don't understand the law. It’s important to be prepared with facts when making an important decision involving legal statutes. By familiarizing yourself with the process and speaking to an attorney, you can make informed decisions for yourself or your loved ones and avoid potential headaches down the road.

Of the many misconceptions about the probate process, the three listed below are the most common:

  • Probate Is Always Required: In Colorado, probate may not always be necessary when a person passes away. Depending on the estate's complexity and the types of assets involved, it may be possible to transfer property without court involvement.
  • Probate Delays Property Distribution: When probate is required, the process can usually be completed quickly due to streamlined procedures and Colorado’s efficient court system.
  • The Court Decides How Assets Will Be Distributed: A will directs how an individual’s assets should be distributed after death. However, disputes may arise concerning the validity or interpretation of the will, which would require legal resolution by a judge. The court will only intervene if interested parties cannot work together to resolve relevant issues in accordance with the decedent’s wishes.

Probating an estate doesn’t have to be a complex or drawn-out process, but if you have concerns, reaching out to an attorney is recommended. A family law attorney with experience in Colorado probate law can provide the guidance needed to ensure your loved one’s estate is processed promptly. By working with an attorney and taking the appropriate legal steps, you can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your decedent's wishes will be honored while avoiding costly missteps or legal issues.

Contact the Law Offices of Alexandra White

Upon completion of the probate process, all assets will be distributed to those with a legal claim. Once debts are paid, any remaining monies or property can then go to the designated individuals. Contact the Law Offices of Alexandra White for assistance with probating your loved one’s estate. Call (303) 647-4245 to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation in further detail.