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Good reasons to avoid probate

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Probate, Trusts |

If assets remain in your Colorado estate after you pass away, they could be subject to probate. This is a public process by which a judge must verify your will or otherwise determine who has the right to inherit your estate. There are many benefits to creating an estate plan that allows you to bypass this step.

Keep your estate plan private

The terms of a trust are not released to the public, which means that you can keep them away from the media, family members or others. This may help to prevent family infighting as your heirs wouldn’t know if they received more or less than others who stood to inherit. It can also protect your kids or others from outside parties who might seek to target them in hopes of taking their newfound wealth for themselves.

Distribute assets faster

Avoiding probate means avoiding months of waiting for permission to distribute assets. Assets that are attached to beneficiary designations can typically be transferred immediately upon your death. Items included in a trust can be transferred on whatever timeline you prefer. In fact, you can even gift assets through a trust prior to your death in an effort to meet one or more estate planning goals.

Reduce the risk of a legal challenge

Although a trust could be challenged in theory, it’s much harder to contest a trust than a will. Furthermore, since the terms of a trust can be kept private, heirs may not even know that there is anything to contest. Typically, beneficiary designations trump the language in a will, so it will be difficult to successfully challenge them as well. The fact that assets can be transferred quickly may also reduce the odds of a successful contest.

Avoiding probate may make it easier to meet your estate planning goals in a timely and affordable manner. If you already have an estate plan, it’s recommended that you review it annually or after a major life event to ensure that it still meets your needs today.