Colorado Estate Planning Blog

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wills Don't Avoid Probate

There is a popular myth that a will helps avoid probate. This is one of the most common mistakes we encounter in estate planning. This mistake can easily be avoided with proper planning.

Probate is the court process that is used to transfer title of property from a deceased person to his or her heirs. Without a revocable living trust, all wills and intestate estates (when there is no will) must be probated (unless the deceased has $64,000 or less and no real property).

There are certain types of assets that are not governed or distributed per the terms of a will, and thus will not be probated. Only property that was owned by you in your individual name (and that does not have a beneficiary designation) will be controlled by the will.

REMEMBER, a will does not address incapacity because a will is merely a death instrument. It only comes into effect at death. Without the proper documents in place, if you become incapacitated someone may have to file a proceeding in court to be appointed as your conservator (the person who manages your money) and your guardian (the person who makes your medical decisions). This process can be lengthy, costly and sometimes heart breaking. It can also easily be avoided with the proper preplanning. When planning, seek the assistance of a professional who can counsel you about the various options available to you. Even simple people need to have a plan!!

Sommers Law Group, LLC assists clients throughout Denver, Jefferson County, and Arapahoe County, Colorado.

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