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Estate Law Basics: What is Probate?
Estate Law Basics: What is Probate?

Many people believe that when they put together an estate plan, they need to “avoid probate.” Most of the time, these are people who have heard stories about difficult family situations after a loved one’s death that have cost years or thousands of dollars. However, probate, on its own, isn’t a bad thing.

Every state has different requirements for wills and probate, but in Colorado, it’s nothing to be scared of.

Probate is the process of executing the terms of a will under the supervision of the court.  Most of the time, personal representative fills out some paperwork, pays any debts out of the estate, sells property, and distributes the proceeds of the estate to the heirs.  A bit more paperwork wraps it up.  Colorado allows for administrative probate in simple cases, meaning the personal representative won’t have to go to court at all.

The alternatives to probate include putting together deeds and trusts rather than a will.  But for small estates, this can become way more complicated than administrative probate.

Not every estate is designed for a simple probate process, but before you say no to probate, make sure your estate plan is designed for your needs, rather than assuming that probate will be a complicated process.  Your attorney is there to help you decide what will be the most efficient and effective way to distribute your estate.

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