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How probate may impact smaller estates

There are many reasons why a person in Colorado would not want to go through the probate process. Regardless of how large or small an estate is, there may be ways to help a person accomplish that goal. For instance, using a transferable on death (TOD) deed could turn homes into assets that don't have to go through probate.

This is because they become property with a beneficiary designation as opposed to property titled in a single person's name. If such a deed is created, it does not provide an ownership interest to the beneficiary while the property owner is still alive. Adding a beneficiary designation to a car's title could also ensure that it doesn't need to be dealt with through probate. A call to the DMV may make it easier to create a proper designation.

While a will can give a person greater control and flexibility when it comes to estate planning, it may not be the best way to transfer property in all cases. For those who want to avoid probate, it may be best to create beneficiary designations if possible. This may provide greater flexibility in estate planning as the beneficiary doesn't necessarily have ownership rights until the owner passes. Therefore, the owner of a home or car doesn't risk losing it.

Once a beneficiary designation has been made, it may be worth reviewing it on a regular basis. It may be helpful to go through this process with the help of an attorney. If changes need to be made, an attorney may be able to increase the odds that they are made in accordance with state law.

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Samuel J. Owen, P.C.
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