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I have a Will, isn't that enough?

If you have a Will, great! But here’s what you might not know:

  • If you have a Will, your beneficiaries must go to Probate Court to have that Will administered.

  • A Will only deals with the transfer of assets that are in your name.

  • There is a court administered legal proceeding, where your Will is admitted to Probate. An executor is appointed to administer your estate, distribute your assets and pay various liabilities and debts.

  • A Will doesn’t cover the distribution of your property in the event that you are incapacitated.

So? What’s so bad about Probate?

  • Costs - There are many expenses involved in a Probate administration that your heirs will have to bear, including attorney's fees, publication fees, executor's fees, accounting fees, appraisal fees and the like. Costs will vary depending upon the size of the estate as well as the form of Probate (death or incapacity).

  • Length of Time - Death Probates in Colorado must stay open for minimum of six months after death (but most estates take anywhere from one to two years, and many longer).  During this period, it is extremely difficult for your heirs to sell your real estate property without taking many extra legal steps. The mortgage (if applicable) must continue to be paid and the property maintained until probate is completed.

  • Incapacity Probates remain open until the incapacitated party passes away or recovers.

  • Lack of Privacy - Probates are matters of public record which means they are open for anyone to take a look at (friends/foes, neighbors, salespeople and strangers).

  • Will/Estate Contest - An attorney is not required for anyone to contest a probate estate and attempt to make a claim. Approximately one out of every ten estates are contested.

  • Loss of control - During the probate process, your heirs may have to ask the court for approval to sell assets or pay debts.  This delays the sale of property, as well as the eventual distribution of the property to the family. The property is being controlled by two people, your attorney and the judge.

Colorado Transitions Legal Expert

Ronald G. Pestine & Associates is a full service law firm, specializing in real estate transactions, estate planning, and estate administration/probate with over 35 years of experience.

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