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Probate Process

The probate process has somewhat of a bad reputation.  Everyone seems to know that you want to avoid probate at all costs, often stating that a will avoids probate.  However, these beliefs are often wrong.  Probate is not an inherently flawed or negative process, and a will never avoids probate.  States created the probate process in an attempt to protect the decedent’s property and pass it to the heirs.  In Colorado at least, this process can be an efficient and cost-effective option.  This blog looks at pros and cons of the probate process.

The Pros of the Probate Process

The probate process does have several advantages to it.  Here are a few:

  • Probate is an established procedure to give the decedent’s assets to heirs, especially if the deceased person has no will.
  • Probate enforces a person’s wishes if they wrote them in a will.  The court supervises this process and ensures that it occurs correctly.
  • Probate can help provide closure and finality to the process, which helps the heirs move on and cope emotionally.
  • If the deceased individual had any debt, probate limits the window during which the deceased person’s creditors can claim the debts owed to them.  This may lead to debt forgiveness.
  • Probate helps smaller estates be distributed out when drafting a will may have been cost-prohibitive.

The Cons of the Probate Process

While probate does have several strengths, there are also weaknesses in the process:

  • The probate process is always public, so others can find out family and financial information.
  • While not normally a problem in Colorado, the probate process can become expensive if attorneys have to get involved, or if the process has to be more formal in court supervision.
  • The probate process normally lasts several months, which may take longer than the beneficiaries desire.  Again, this is not normally an issue in Colorado, but it can become a problem in a complicated or contested process.
  • Probate places a lot of responsibility on the personal representative and can be a confusing and stressful time for both your personal representative and your heirs.

Bottom line: The probate process in Colorado is a very viable option to administer your estate.  However, it may or may not be the best option for you.  Contact The Rains Law Firm or schedule a complimentary initial meeting to begin determining if the probate process fits with your situation and goals.