There may be, depending on the size of an estate.
In fact, for small estates (defined as those valued at less than $50,000 and including no real property), there is a shortcut to the formal probate process.
This shortcut allows heirs to collect a decedent’s assets via an affidavit (and without having to open up a probate case with the court). Essentially, the affidavit requires an heir to swear that (s)he is entitled to some asset(s) and that (s)he will distribute any and all remaining assets to the other appropriate or entitled heirs.
Ways to Reduce Future Probate Obligations
If the value of your estate exceeds the limits for a “small estate,” you may be able to put some estate plans in place now to bring the value down, potentially positioning your loved ones to take advantage of a probate short cut or an expedited probate process.
Some of these plans can include (but may not be limited to):
- Using some assets to fund trusts – If you don’t already have a trust set up, now may be the time to do so, using assets like life insurance policies, stocks, bonds, investment accounts and real estate to fund the trusts. If these trusts are appropriately set up, the assets used to fund them will not be subject to probate later. This can help you directly transfer certain property to loved ones.
- Naming transfer-on-death (TOD)/payable-on-death (POD) designations – For assets like bank accounts, motor vehicles and retirement accounts, using TOD or POD designations can again allow for the direct transfer of these assets to a particular beneficiary without the need for probate.
- Giving some assets away now – In some cases, it may be preferable to give certain assets to loved ones prior to passing away. Personal property like jewelry, motor vehicles or art collections can be among the assets to give away prior to death in order to reduce the value of an estate (and possibly to enjoy the experience of giving sentimental items away to loved ones).
- Giving some assets away to charity – Another option for minimizing future probate obligations would be to give some items to charity now or upon your death. These charitable gifts would typically not be counted towards the value of your estate (and they may even qualify the estate for certain tax deductions).
Contact a Pueblo Probate Attorney at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth
For effective, experienced representation in Colorado probate, contact a Pueblo probate attorney at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth. Since 1972, our experienced and respected Pueblo lawyers have been dedicated to helping our clients navigate the complexities of the legal system and to favorably resolving their important legal issues.
To learn more about our superior legal services and how we can assist you, contact us by calling (719) 556- 8844 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page. From our offices based in Pueblo, we represent clients in Trinidad, La Jara, Lamar, Walsenburg, Alamosa and throughout the state of Colorado.