Don’t Go At Your Probate Case Without Legal Representation
When an individual dies, their estate must be handled according to their last will and testament or by Colorado’s intestacy laws if they died intestate (without a will).
“Probate” is a judicial legal proceeding to administer a decedent’s estate and ultimately distribute it according to a will, if any, or the state’s intestate statutes. Judicial probate proceedings may be required to transfer those assets depending on how the decedent’s assets are titled or may not be r.
Only “probate property” must go through the judicial probate process. “Probate property” refers to any assets which the decedent owned solely in their own name at the time of their death, and which continue to be owned by their estate following death. “Non-probate property” are assets which, by operation of law or beneficiary designation, pass automatically to someone else following the decedent’s death.
Examples of non-probate property include real estate owned as joint tenants with rights of survivorship (as opposed to co-ownership as “tenants in common”), real estate for which a beneficiary deed has been recorded (a beneficiary deed transfers title to real estate to a third person automatically upon the decedent’s death), as well as any financial or investment accounts which contain a designated beneficiary, such as life insurance, checking and savings accounts, 401(k), IRAs, Pensions, and CDs.
However, if any of these accounts/assets do not contain a designed beneficiary, such assets may be considered probate property. Even if there is probate property, it is possible to collect those assets without probate if the combined value is less than $74,000.00 (in 2022) by utilizing a “small estate affidavit.”
The small estate affidavit allows a decedent’s successors to collect assets and distribute them amongst themselves in accordance with the decedent’s will or intestate succession laws, without the necessity of opening a judicial probate estate. However, a small estate affidavit cannot be used to transfer title to real estate which remains solely in the decedent’s name.
If you are concerned about whether or not probate is required in Colorado, you should speak with an experienced probate lawyer Denver residents trust. The Denver probate lawyers at Baker Law Group have years of experience helping clients navigate the complex world of probate law.