Many Coloradans may wish to avoid having their estate go through probate upon their death. After all, the probate process takes time and costs money, thus diminishing the value of their estate. However, there are certain ways property can be passed on to your loved ones while bypassing the probate process.
Fans of Marvel comics and movies may have been saddened to hear of the passing of Marvel creator, Stan Lee at age 95. However, residents of Colorado can learn important estate planning lessons from Lee's passing. This is because it is not known whether he had executed any estate planning documents in light of the complicated relationships he had in his late years.
When a person in Colorado Springs is executing an estate plan, they may fall into the trap of thinking they can just split everything equally between their heirs. While this can be relatively straightforward with regard to bank accounts and other intangible assets, it can be more difficult when it comes to personal property. How does one handle the division of family heirlooms, such as grandmother's wedding ring or a valuable painting? These tangible assets can be more complicated to address in an estate plan. This is because people may not know what these assets are currently worth, and these assets may have a lot of sentimental value for certain family members. That being said, it is just as important to include tangible assets in your estate plan as it is to include intangible assets.
People in Colorado Springs may have seen scenes in movies or on television where a dying person makes a will, often with the phrase, "I, being of sound mind and body ..." However, these portrayals of executing a will aren't always accurate. First, an adult of any age who is in good health can execute a will -- they need not be elderly or at death's door. Second, certain legal formalities must be followed in order for a will to be made legally sound and enforceable.
When a person in Colorado dies, any assets that are not placed in a trust, do not have a designated beneficiary and are owned solely by the deceased must go through the probate process. When this happens, a personal representative will be assigned by the court. This person's role as a fiduciary is to wind down the deceased's affairs and distribute the assets of the estate to the deceased's heirs.