Avoiding Probate Through Estate Planning
Guidance from Our Denver Estate Plan Attorney
Probate is a court procedure for settling the estate of a deceased person. The procedure is designed to insure that creditor claims and taxes are paid and that any remaining assets are transferred to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the deceased person's will or revocable living trust. If the deceased died without a will or trust, he or she is said to "have died intestate" and the estate must then be distributed to the closest living relatives.
Under Colorado law a person's estate is subject to probate if he or she dies owning:
- Titled personal property with an aggregate value of $63,000 or more
- Real estate of any value
What Is the Probate Process?
While probate in Colorado is less complicated and less expensive than in many states, it typically costs 2-5% of probate assets and takes a minimum of one year to complete. As a result, many clients are interested in developing an estate plan that circumvents probate.
Certain assets are not subject to probate. These include:
- Gifts made prior to death
- Assets held by a living revocable trust
- Pension plans or IRA's with a named beneficiary
- Life insurance and annuities with a named beneficiary
- Bank accounts with a payable on death (POD) designation
- Brokerage accounts with a transfer on death (TOD) designation
- Real or personal property held in joint tenancy with another person
- Titled personal property with an aggregate value of less than $63,000
- Real property transferred to beneficiaries via a life estate or beneficiary deed
Assistance from an Experienced Denver Probate Lawyer
Attorney James Littlepage has provided his clients with dedicated legal counsel in estate planning for more than 40 years. His exceptional representation and skill have earned him a reputation for providing outstanding representation. You can read what our clients have to say about us.
If you would like to learn more about probate avoidance for your specific family situation, we encourage you to schedule a consultation today!