Wills and Trusts Can Help You Avoid Probate
When someone dies, their possessions and money must be distributed in accordance with their will in order to ensure that the deceased’s final wishes are honored.
If the decedent did not have a will, their assets will be distributed in accordance with Colorado’s intestate laws. This process is known as probate, and it can be time-consuming, expensive, and stressful for surviving loved ones in some instances.
In some cases, however, it is possible to avoid probate in Colorado. Assets owned in “joint tenancy”, or which contain payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) designations will avoid probate. Although, there are pitfalls to owning assets jointly with others.
A trust may also be utilized to avoid probate. A trust is a legal arrangement in which property is transferred to a trust, which is managed by a trustee for the benefit of named beneficiaries. A trust can also provide for the distribution of assets following the death of the trust maker (“grantor”). There are a wide variety of trusts which can be created, for many different purposes.
If the primary goal in using a trust is to avoid probate, it is important that all of your assets are transferred to the trust during your life, or have the trust designated as the beneficiary of such assets. This is because a trust, as a separate legal entity, only has control over assets that it owns.
There are a number of other methods for avoiding probate in Colorado, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. It is important to consult with a Denver Probate Attorney before making any decisions about estate planning.
The First Step in Avoiding Probate Is to Create a Will or Trust
A will is a document that outlines how you want your property distributed after you die. A will can be used as a catchall so that you properly devise all of your estate even though the assets that pass through a will must generally go through probate. (A Will must also go through probate)
A trust is a legal arrangement in which property is entrusted to a trustee, who manages and distributes the assets according to the wishes of the trust’s creator. Both wills and trusts can help you avoid probate.
There are a number of other methods for avoiding probate in Colorado, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. It is important to consult with a Denver Probate Lawyer before making any decisions about estate planning.
Baker Law Group’s Colorado Probate attorneys can help you create documents that meet your specific needs and ensure that your estate plan is tailored to your unique situation.