Probate is not an inherently bad process. In fact, for individuals who pass away with incomplete or vague estate plans, probate can help sort out testamentary issues related to the distribution of their assets. However, many Colorado residents wish to avoid having their estates be probated. This is because probate can be costly and can tie up estates for months as problems are slowly worked through.

There are some ways that individuals can avoid having their estates probated. One way is to use financial devices that allow for death beneficiary designations. These accounts allow the account owner to name who they want to receive the assets upon their death. For example, a parent may name their child the death beneficiary on their retirement account and, therefore, the account would become the property of the child when the parent died.

Additionally, certain types of joint property ownership can be used to help individuals avoid having their real property probated. If a person owns a parcel jointly and the other owner has a right of survivorship, then the surviving owner will take possession of the decedent’s portion of the parcel when they die.

Gifts, certain trusts, and other estate planning tools can help Colorado residents avoid having their estates go through the probate process when they come to the end of their lives. This post offers readers a brief glimpse into the many options they have for setting up estate plans to avoid probate. They are encouraged to work with an attorney to craft an estate plan that meets their individual estate planning goals.