Probate is the court supervised process of distributing the assets of the individual who passed away (decedent).
Testate: Having a valid will at the time of your death that names the entities or persons who are the beneficiaries.
Intestate: Having no valid will at the of your death, the laws of the State of Colorado will determine who will inherit your assets.
Not all assets are transferred under the process of probate. The assets that are transferred under probate generally are:
Real property: Personal property that is in excess of $70,000
Assets that generally pass outside of probate are:
- Property that is held in joint tenancy (real or personal)
- Any asset held in trust
- Any asset that has payable on death (POD) or terminate on death (TOD) beneficiary designated
What are the benefits of probate:
- Limits creditors’ claims for certain time periods
- Laws are designed to protect the beneficiaries
- Laws help to address any controversy that occurs with distributions
What are the drawbacks of probate:
- Cost of attorney’s fees and court costs
- Time – probate can take up to a year to complete
- Probate is public and many of the documents are subject to public inspection
How to Avoid probate:
- Living Revocable Trust
- Will Substitutes