Does a Will Avoid Probate?
No! There is a very common misconception that having a Will means you will avoid probate. By itself, a Will is an instruction sheet for going through probate.
What is a Will Then?
A Will is a document that allows you to dictate where your cash, house, and other important assets should go when you pass. You appoint a Personal Representative, which used to be called an Executor or Executrix, in your will.
The Personal Representative Has Four Main Jobs:
- Find what you own;
- Value the assets;
- Pay any creditors; and
- Distribute things the way you said in your will
BUT – the Will is used to go through probate. Probate is the court-guided process we go through when someone owned property or had more than $74,000 (as of 2022) and passes away. Colorado probates are easier than some states, but are not fun – they take at least six months and cost thousands of dollars!
Then Why Do I Need a Will?
If you have minor children, you must have a Will to pick guardian of your children if something ever happened to you. Your verbal agreement with your sister that she would take your kids if something happened will not hold up in court.
A Pour-Over Will dumps assets into your trust that should have been in your trust but for whatever reason were not. A Will is a backup in case something goes wrong with your other estate planning documents; we liken it to wearing both a belt and suspenders, just really making sure the pants of your plan hold up no matter what happens.
How Can I Avoid Probate Then?
Depending on your situation, different tools apply! Schedule a time to chat with one of our attorneys, or call us at 719-259-4971 to set up a free meeting!