How to avoid the Probate process?
When a person passes away, their property must be distributed to the
rightful heirs after all debts, taxes and bills have been paid. This is known as
the Probate process and it is supervised by the Court.
If the decedent has a valid Will, then the Court will follow those instructions
as long as they meet current state law.
A Personal Representative – as nominated in the Will – is appointed by the
Court to see that the Probate process is completed properly. If there is no
Will, then the Court will choose someone to act as the Personal
Unfortunately, probate can be a very timely and expensive process –
something your loved ones would probably prefer to avoid.
And with the help of a good estate planning attorney, they can.
In fact, there are a number of ways to avoid probate. Here’s just a few of
the most common:
using joint accounts
using payable on death accounts (POD)
setting up Trusts
When an account is owned in joint tenancy by two or more people then it
includes 'rights of survivorship'. This means that if one person dies then the
other person automatically owns the account. Probate is not conducted for
this type of account. The bank only needs a death certificate to transfer the
account to the owners who are still alive.
However, there are some problems with this type of account. For example,
there are different laws governing gifts to such an account. There might be
problems if there is a lawsuit against one of the owners of the account.
Also, there might be some problems about disinheriting some heirs. An
attorney would be able to explain all the details to you.
Payable on Death Accounts
This is an easy way to avoid Probate. The accounts are paid automatically to
the beneficiaries after the death of the owner. But there are some
drawbacks of POD accounts also. An attorney would be able to explain how
disinheriting beneficiaries, disability of the owner, death of a beneficiary,
consent of beneficiaries etc. might be a problem with this type of account.
A trust is a unique legal document that acts as a “box” to hold all your
assets. Title to these assets is transferred into the name of the trust and
upon your death, those assets are distributed according to your wishes.
This can all be done without the court-supervised probate process.
Experienced estate planning attorneys Colorado Springs CO of the
Hammond Law Group LLC offers estate planning and business planning
resources to residents of Colorado Springs CO. To learn more about these
free resources, please visit www.coloradoestateplan.com today.