Denver Probate and Trust Settlement Lawyer
Losing a loved one is a devastating experience. Undoubtedly, there will be many things you have to deal with when somebody close to you passes away. This might include funeral expenses, burial costs, and deciding what to do with their belongings. Additionally, you will have to find out if your loved one had a will or made any determination about where they wanted their inheritance to go.
At the Law Offices of Brady, McFarland & Lord, LLC, our probate and trust settlement lawyers in Denver understand that losing a loved one is emotionally and physically trying. Having to handle probate issues should be as easy to deal with as possible while you go through these difficult times. That is why we manage the stress of going to court and resolve any probate matters for you. If you have been appointed as a personal representative or simply have questions relating to the probate process, do not hesitate to call our Arvada law office at (303) 420-2863 or contact us online. We are here to listen and serve your needs.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process that authenticates a will and chooses an executor for the proper distribution of a person’s assets after they pass away. Their assets and any part of the estate need to be properly and legally disposed of or distributed, and this distribution can’t be executed until the estate goes through probate. It helps to ensure that all debts are paid and that the assets are distributed as they’re legally required to be. For those who have small estates, the probate process may not be that complex. However, when someone passes away and has many assets and significant amounts of money available to distribute, the process of probate can be time-consuming and complicated.
Probate Requirements in Denver
In Denver, probate is required when a person passes away and some of their assets didn’t automatically pass on to their beneficiaries. If the assets must go through probate, it can make things much more difficult, especially if any part of the process is contested. If you’re not familiar with probate, it almost always requires a lawyer. There can be significant costs associated with probate, but hiring a lawyer experienced in the process will help to ensure that the legal costs are kept to a minimum and the bulk of the assets are preserved for their expected distribution.
Why You Need A Probate & Trust Settlement Attorney in Denver
Probate in Colorado can be very smooth, or it can take several years and require litigation. Putting an experienced lawyer in your corner who has been through the process countless times can help your matter run as smoothly as possible. At our firm, we can assist with the following:
Probate Contested & Uncontested Probate
The majority of probate issues are uncontested. No matter what, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced lawyer to help you. The probate process consists of collecting all probate property of the decedent and making sure all debts, claims, and taxes that are owed by the estate are paid. We will also help resolve any issues dealing with the deceased’s income, and we’ll settle any disputes that might arise. Further, we can help allocate any remaining property or funds to the rightful heirs. In contested probate, it’s easy to imagine how challenging this can be. Even in uncontested probate, if you’re not familiar with the law and how things work, it can be quite the task to try to undertake on your own.
Contested probate can be much more expensive, stressful, and time-consuming for everyone involved. It occurs when there isn’t an agreement about how the individual’s assets are to be distributed. In this case, everything will have to go to court and a judge will have to determine who is entitled to each of the assets. There are different scenarios that could create a contested probate. One very common situation is when someone contests the validity of a will. Planning ahead and speaking with a probate and trust settlement lawyer before this becomes an issue can be incredibly valuable.
When a person can no longer take care of themselves, and they haven’t executed a power of attorney, the state can appoint a guardian. When a young person is left without parents, a guardian can be appointed in this situation as well. A guardian can be a person or a professional organization. The guardian must act in the best interests of the incapacitated person. Generally, the guardian is responsible for the following:
- Making sure the incapacitated or young person is physically safe
- Making important health and medical decisions
- Handling legal inquiries on behalf of the incapacitated or young person
Our firm can help you set up guardianship for a loved one who is either too young or too incapacitated to take care of everything on their own.
Conservators And More
A conservatorship is similar to guardianship. When someone is appointed as a conservator, it is their responsibility to oversee another person’s finances. The conservator is tasked with managing a person’s day-to-day financial life. Generally speaking, a court will appoint a conservator when they’ve been presented with evidence that a person is incapable of handling their own affairs. This can be from the result of age, illness, or decreased mental capacity caused by illness, injury, or any medical issue.
We can also assist you when dealing with out-of-state personal representative concerns. If you’re appointed as a personal representative, this can be a challenging role. There are a lot of complex issues that might arise in this case. People often need out-of-state representatives for the following reasons:
- The decedent owned property outside of the state they lived in
- The decedent owned a business outside of the state they resided in
- The decedent lived in different states for equal parts of the year
No matter what probate issue you are facing, do not hesitate to reach out to our firm for help.
Handling Trust Settlement Issues
Trusts are a good way to try to avoid probate because the terms of the trust determine what happens to the assets once the individual passes away. The trustee is responsible for overseeing the trust and ensuring that the assets are distributed as they’re required to be. Trusts are quite difficult to challenge. While trusts do work to avoid probate, there is still a trust administration period that must occur before everything is finalized. Since many trusts have very specific terms, it is crucial to have a skilled trust settlement lawyer in your corner who fully understands the implications of those terms and the responsibilities associated with them.
Typically, a trust settlement lawyer can help make sure that all bank accounts are closed, assets are collected, real estate and income taxes are paid, creditors are paid, and the remaining assets are distributed accordingly. It can still take time and can be complicated in some ways, but avoiding probate is a significant benefit.
Assets Not Subject to Probate in Denver
Fortunately, there are ways you can plan and avoid probate.
- Living Trusts: A living trust allows a person to transfer assets to someone else while they’re still alive. A revocable living trust allows the person who creates the trust to continue to use and spend their assets as they please while they’re still alive, but they will be distributed according to their wishes upon their passing. This ensures that their assets go to the people they designate them to go to without having to pass through probate and without there being any dispute regarding the distribution. Living trusts make for a very smooth transfer of assets.
- Beneficiary Designations: If the person who passes away had life insurance or a retirement account and has named beneficiaries associated with those accounts, the beneficiaries will automatically receive those benefits upon the policyholder’s passing without going through probate.
- Joint Tenancy: When you own a property with other individuals and it is held in joint tenancy –for instance a home that spouses share – when one of the spouses dies, the survivor automatically becomes the sole owner of the property. This is referred to as the right of survivorship and means there’s no need for this property to go through probate.
Get the Help You Need With a Probate and Trust Settlement Lawyer in Denver
Our goal is to make this process as easy to deal with as possible for you. Brady, McFarland & Lord, LLC has been providing full-service estate and business planning for more than 21 years. As estate planning lawyers in Denver, we protect what matters most to you. We aren’t simply concerned with the bottom line; we want to make sure you are treated with the dignity and respect you deserve. If you have questions regarding the probate process or need guidance with a trust settlement, please contact us online or call our Arvada law office at (303) 420-2863. We are always ready to help.