Elder law attorneys help individuals prepare and plan for their lives and events as they age. This includes drafting estate plans commonly known as wills and trusts, probate, estate administration (assisting in settling an estate once someone dies), health and long term care planning, understanding public benefits and how they mesh with long term care.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process that is used to transfer title of assets from the decedent to his or her heirs. If assets controlled by the will are under 60k there is no need for probate in Colorado unless real estate is involved. Only assets owned in an individual's name are controlled by the will ( in other words accounts where you list a joint tenant or beneficiary are not part of the probate process.) Probate is a court procedure and as such must follow specific rules of the court.
What does the personal representative do?
The short answer is a lot! The Personal Representative ("PR") manages the decedent's estate from start to finish. They open an estate bank account, keep accurate records of all actions of the estate, sell or transfer real property, consolidate bank accounts, deal with creditors, provide accountings to the court. We work with many PRs to assist them with this process and ensure that they follow the letter of the law when settling an estate so they do not incur any personal liability.
Is there long term care help for my middle class parents?
There certainly could be. Medicaid is terribly misunderstood. It has been represented as a program for low income individuals. Every situation is unique so it is always in your best interest to come in and meet with an attorney to determine if there are benefits available to help. We have assisted numerous folks with long term care solutions who just assumed it would come out of their savings.
My grandfather died and I think I was named in the will. Can I find out?
The short answer is yes. We can help you get answers in this situation. The sooner you contact us the better. Perhaps your mother or father died yet a sibling is the personal representative and will not tell you anything. Although it is the responsibility of the decedent's personal representative to disburse money or tangible assets to heirs sometimes they need to be prodded and held accountable.