Probate Law

The probate law department at Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. (K & G) handles probate matters in Colorado. While the word probate has negative connotations, it is not a bad thing and a very necessary legal process when needed.

There are two times you can be involved with probate. The first is during your life (this is known as “living probate”) and the second is after death (this is known as “estate administration”).

Both living probate and estate administration following a death are voluntary. Colorado law permits several effective methods of avoiding both living probate and estate administration probate. Those methods are part of estate planning. You can obtain information about estate planning from our firm’s estate planning department.

Since both types of probate are voluntary why does probate exist? Both living probate and estate administration processes are necessary to protect people who fail to plan to avoid them. By not planning your estate you are choosing to be involved with either probate process. Some examples are discussed below.

Living Probate:

When someone becomes incapacitated and is unable to make or communicate their own decisions those decisions must still be made. If the incapacitated person did not appoint a decision maker prior to incapacity the court can appoint a decision maker. The process where court appointment is sought is known as living probate.

There are two court proceedings to seek appointment of a decision maker for an incapacitated person. For financial matters that proceeding is a conservatorship. For medical and personal care decisions that process is known as a guardianship.

The two types of living probate proceedings are examples of why probate is a good thing. When someone is incapacitated financial and medical decisions must be made. If the incapacitated person did not create appropriate decision makers prior to incapacity the probate process exists to protect that person. K & G handles both conservatorship and guardianship proceedings.

Estate Administration:

People are more familiar with the probate of a person’s estate after death. Many TV shows and movies show scenes where wills are read or people dispute about someone’s estate. In Colorado where the court becomes involved with a decedent’s estate is known as estate administration. Many estates in Colorado are handled without court involvement. This is still known as estate administration. Many people think of probate as only the court process.

Like living probate estate administration through Colorado courts is voluntary. Colorado law allows an array of non-probate transfer methods which are considered in estate planning. For more information about these planning strategies refer to our Estate Planning page and consult with a K & G estate planning attorney.

Similar to living probate the Colorado process of estate administration is important to assist families where the person who died did not use one of the many non-probate transfer methods. This makes probate at death or estate administration a vital legal process.

Estate administration is the process of legally transferring assets out of the name of the decedent and into the name or names of the proper beneficiaries. If this is not properly done in estate planning it is required after someone passes away.

Click here for an excellent discussion of the Colorado estate administration process from the Colorado Bar Association

K & G handles all matters of estate administration including trust administration if the decedent died with a trust. Call us today with any questions or to consult with one of our probate attorneys. 303-688-3535.

Matters in living probate and estate administration can become contested or result in disputes. While these are messy and unfortunate K & G attorneys are experienced in probate litigation and can assist you in navigating the stormy seas of a probate litigation matter. We seek to resolve disputes without going to court however sometimes court resolution of the probate matter is necessary.

Remembering that probate is voluntary always consider planning your affairs and property to eliminate the requirement of either of these probate proceedings.

For more information, please contact us by clicking here.

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