If you have recently lost a parent, sibling, child, friend, or business partner, you may be wondering how you are going to wrap up their affairs, pay off their debts, and get their assets transferred to the people entitled to receive them. The Colorado probate process may help you figure these issues out, and even if you don’t think probate will be needed, understanding what it does and when it is needed will be critical to getting things correctly addressed.
There is a misconception that when someone dies, the only question is: what do the kids get? If the person who died didn’t have kids, maybe other family members can get something instead. But that badly understates the number of tasks that need to be completed, and the people who need to be considered, in the wake of someone’s passing.
Before the family takes possession of the assets, they absolutely must make sure they know everything the decedent had, and everyone who might have a rightful claim to any of those assets. The people who have rightful claims includes not only the decedent’s heirs, but also his or her creditors. The nightmare scenario is that assets are distributed to the family, and then a creditor shows up with a strong claim to something that isn’t in the estate anymore. A second, almost-as-bad scenario is finding out, years after you thought everything was settled, that there is still something out there. To prevent either of these scenarios, the following steps should be followed.