Probate Lawyer in Colorado Springs
Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One
One of the sad realities of life is that, eventually, those closest and dearest to us will pass. When that happens, our grief is compounded by all of the things that must happen to manage the loved one’s affairs, protect their assets, and legally pass on their inheritance. Even though this is the last thing any family member wants to worry about in their time of grief, failure to properly and quickly secure assets and properly initiate appropriate probate or administration proceedings can lead to increased heartache and damaged families. A qualified and experienced Colorado Springs probate attorney such as Patterson Weaver and his team at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC can help make sure that the process is as smooth and painless as possible.
Schedule your free initial consultation by contacting our firm today.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal process under which a person’s estate (assets) is distributed after his or her death. Specifically, the process involves gathering information on the assets of the deceased, creating an inventory, paying funeral and burial expenses, paying creditors, distributing remaining estate assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the will, preparing an accounting of the assets and expenditures, and closing the estate.
While many people believe that probate is a scary word and a complicated process that must always be avoided, in Colorado that is not always the case. Colorado has a probate process that allows for informal administration of most estates, which greatly reduces the time and expense required to administer and close the estate. However, even with informal probate, there are still many deadlines and requirements that can become pitfalls that create delay, frustration, and expense. Patterson Weaver Law, LLC can help guide you through this process to manage the deceased’s estate as painlessly and efficiently as possible.
While most probate cases in Colorado can be conducted informally with little court supervision, some estates are required to go through the formal probate process. Typically, the formal process becomes necessary when there is a dispute as to the validity of a will, or a beneficiary alleges that the personal representative is not appropriately handling the estate. Formal probate is far more complicated, expensive, and time-consuming than informal. If you are a personal representative and find yourself in the formal probate process, it is important that you hire a qualified probate lawyer to guide you through the process and to represent you in court.
What Assets Go Through Probate?
Not all assets of an estate are considered part of the probate estate and subject to the legal process. Assets not subject to the probate process are referred to as non-probate assets.
Examples of non-probate assets include:
- Property and assets owned in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship
- Retirement plans, annuities, life insurance, and other assets that have designated beneficiaries
- Property and assets held in a trust
- The entire estate when the collective assets total less than $60,000 in value (adjusted for inflation)
Assets not covered above are likely probate assets. Probate assets are distributed to heirs and other beneficiaries via the probate process. Broadly speaking, estate debts are paid first, and the remaining assets are distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the will.
However, if a deceased died without a will, then he or she died “intestate.” When one dies intestate, there are rules established by the Colorado Legislature that dictate how the assets of the estate are distributed. As few people want the State of Colorado deciding how to distribute their life’s work after they pass, it is advisable to hire an attorney to help with an Estate Plan (will, trust, and related documents) that will keep you in control of what happens to your estate after you pass.
Out of State Personal Representative? Patterson Weaver Law, LLC Can Help
Are you the personal representative (executor) of a deceased loved one’s estate, but do not live in Colorado? Colorado Springs probate lawyer Patterson Weaver and his team can help you administer the estate, often without you even needing to come to Colorado. We can communicate with you via phone, e-mail, fax, and certified mail, video conferencing, whatever is needed in order to make administering the estate while you are out of state as painless as possible. Most hearings can be conducted without your presence or with you present by telephone. There are exceptions, and sometimes the personal representative’s presence is required by the court. However, our goal is to help you administer the estate effectively from a distance without the need to actually come to Colorado unless you want to be present.
Contact our team at (719) 215-8049 today to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you administer your loved one’s estate.