What is Probate?
Does Everyone Have to Go Through Probate?
A deceased or mentally disabled person cannot legally sign deeds, write checks, pay bills, transact business transfer assets or care for minor children. Probate is the legal process of accomplishing these tasks. There are two types of probate – disability probate and death probate.
Disability probate is a court proceeding that appoints someone to take care of an individual, called a “guardian,” or someone to take care of an individual’s financial affairs, called a “conservator.” Disability probate occurs when someone becomes incapacitated and needs help, but hasn’t created any powers of attorney naming someone to help.
Death probate is the process that most people are familiar with. It is a court proceeding that ensures that assets get retitled to the deceased person’s heirs and bills get paid. If you have a will, the probate process makes sure that those two things happen according to state law and according to the terms of your will. If you don’t have a will, the government’s estate plan controls those outcomes.
Probate has been said to be “a lawsuit you start against yourself, with your own money, for the benefit of your creditors.” It is not required in every case. Probate can be totally avoided by not owning anything in your own name that doesn’t have a named beneficiary. If an asset is owned in your individual name, and if there is no named beneficiary, it is an asset that must go through the probate process to be retitled. If there is no reason for the asset to be retitled when you die, it doesn’t go through probate. The best tool to use to avoid the probate process is revocable living trust that owns all of your assets, or receives the assets upon your death.
For more information on Going Through Probate in Colorado, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (719) 444-0300 today.