With a strong background in business and financial law, the attorneys at Brown Dunning Walker Fein Drusch PC focus their probate and estate administration practice on helping personal representatives and beneficiaries whose recently deceased loved ones may have been business owners.
The attorneys at Brown Dunning Walker Fein Drusch PC can help ensure a smooth and efficient transfer of assets from the estate to the designated trustees, heirs, and beneficiaries.
Contact Brown Dunning Walker Fein Drusch PC to speak to an experienced probate lawyer.
Conservatorships and Guardianships
In addition to their work in both probate and non-probate transfers for the timely distribution of assets, Brown Dunning Walker Fein Drusch PC sets up guardianships and conservatorships for those who have lost the capacity to make decisions on their own.
Contested Will Disputes
Probate litigation can be painful, and the attorneys at Brown Dunning Walker Fein Drusch PC are sensitive to the emotional toll such disputes take on their clients. In the event that a dispute should arise during the probate process over the meaning or validity of a will, the probate attorneys at Brown Dunning Walker Fein Drusch PC are experienced in litigation and can provide strong, aggressive advocacy to advance your position in the courtroom.
Probate refers to the legal process by which an individual’s assets are distributed upon their death. In Colorado, the court appoints a personal representative to guide the process, which includes all the following:
- Determining the assets that make up the estate
- Paying all final debts and expenses
- Notifying creditors and interested persons
- Distributing the remaining assets according to the individual’s will or to state laws when there is no will
Will vs. No Will
When a decedent – or the individual who has died – has a valid will in place at the time of their death, the included terms prevail during the probate process, and their assets are divided in accordance with their wishes, which is the goal of estate planning. Many individuals also employ trusts, which ensure that assets directly transfer to intended recipients when the time comes – in an effort to avoid probate and streamline the process.
When a decedent doesn’t have a will in place, any assets that aren’t otherwise addressed are distributed to recipients through the probate process according to Colorado’s laws of intestacy – or laws of inheritance.
Non-Probate Assets and Small Estates
When an individual passes, not all of their assets are necessarily subject to probate. For example, financial tools that assign beneficiaries – such as insurance policies, deposit accounts, 401(k)s and other retirement accounts, and other accounts with payable on death designations – bypass probate. Further, probate is not required in Colorado for those decedents with small estates that don’t involve real property, which refers to land and real estate.
Guardianships and Conservatorships
Colorado probate courts establish guardianships and conservatorships for those adults who require a representative to assist them in making primary decisions regarding personal, financial, or medical matters. Guardians take on the responsibility of protecting their wards’ personal care and overall well-being, while conservators oversee their wards’ financial affairs or personal estates.
A protective proceeding is required to appoint a guardian or conservator, and before an individual qualifies as incapacitated – and thus in need of – specific conditions must be met. The individual must be incapable of effectively receiving or evaluating information or of communicating information to the degree that they are unable to satisfy essential requirements relevant to their own physical health and safety.
If you have questions or concerns related to probate or estate administration, the answers to some of those asked most frequently by those in similar situations can help.
What is the difference between a guardian and a conservator?
A guardian is responsible for assisting an incapacitated person in relation to their personal care and well-being, while a conservator is responsible for overseeing their financial affairs, which include matters related to personal property.
How do guardianship and conservatorship factor into estate planning?
Individuals can address the matter of guardianship, conservatorship, or both in their estate planning efforts. In the event they become incapacitated, their instructions in this important matter will prevail.
Are there less restrictive alternatives to guardianships and conservatorships?
Yes, there are options other than guardianship or conservatorship that provide individuals with the degree of oversight they need rather than stripping them of individual rights.
- Advance directives
- Power of attorney
- Representative payee
- Single transaction conservatorships
Contact the Law Firm of Brown Dunning Walker Fein Drusch PC
For more information, or an appointment, contact Brown Dunning Walker Fein Drusch PC.