Probate, Guardianships, Conservatorships
Colorado Probate Law Services
May people think that probate is something to be feared. But fortunately for you, Colorado has a streamlined probate process. Probate generally refers to the time after someone dies and their friends or family work to finalize their financial matters. However, the probate court also handles conservatorship and guardianship for disabled adults or minors. This can be a confusing and difficult process for anyone. Let us help guide you through the court paperwork and financial institutions to ensure that all your family member’s matters are handled well and with care. This includes gathering and assessing assets, determining and paying debts, and making final payments to the heirs or beneficiaries.
Probate after someone dies:
We offer three types of services to help with your probate after someone has passed away. What you choose depends on your needs.
Supportive Probate: In this situation we provide the paperwork, guidance, and information necessary to help you finish all of the decedent’s estate. We do not take an active roll in managing the bank accounts or other financial institutions. However, we are always here to answer questions and make sure you stay on track. Most clients choose this option.
Full probate: In this case we take a far more active roll in managing the probate. We will take the actions to help you open accounts, gather assets, pay debts, and complete the paperwork. This is more costly, but a good option if you want to reduce your stress.
Contested probate or beneficiary representation: Are you a personal representative who is concerned that your family will fight about the probate? Or are you a beneficiary who wants to ensure that everything is done correctly and have an attorney to advise you about your rights? We help represent families who want to make sure that there is no fraud and that everything is being handled correctly.
There are many benefits of hiring a lawyer to help you. The state provides instructions and forms, but often they are overwhelming and confusing. You have questions, but no one to turn to for help. We will help guide you through the process and ensure that you stay on track for a full and final completion.
Guardianship and Conservatorship
Guardianship and conservatorship are court appointed positions that ensure a person is cared for when they are not able to care for themselves. Both of these positions take care of either the money or the medical decisions for someone who cannot do so on their own. A conservator is someone who makes financial decisions, and a guardian is someone who makes decisions about the person’s health and placement. In the case of a minor child, a guardian also makes most decisions that a parent would make on behalf of a child.
a. Guardianship and Conservatorship for Adults
It can be very hard to serve as a caretaker and decision maker for someone who is not able to make their own decisions anymore. It’s even harder when they are no longer able to make their own decisions or handle their finances and you don’t have the permissions you need to do that for them. If an adult did not sign powers of attorney while they were competent, or if they have been mentally disabled since childhood, then they may need a guardian and/or a conservator. In this process, we help the proposed fiduciary (guardian/conservator) prepare all the paperwork and go in front of the judge to be appointed to the role. This process is very heavy on paperwork up front, and we will help you make sure that you have everything that you need. You will also need to fill out reports after the appointment, and then every year after. Our firm is happy to provide guidance and answer questions so you feel confident in your role caring for your loved one.
b. Guardianship and Conservatorship for Minors
Sometimes a child needs someone to take care of them when a parent cannot. Guardianship is where an adult is appointed by the court to care for, and make decisions for, the child. With a guardianship, the person taking care of the child will have the legal rights to make decisions for a certain period of time. This can be done through the courts, or outside of them, as is appropriate. Guardianship is often appropriate for times when a parent will be gone for an extended period of time, or when they are not able to care for their children for a personal reason.
We are happy to help you through the process to make sure that the child is safe and happy and healthy and that everything is legal and thorough to protect the whole family.
“Meggin was very thorough and spoke in layman’s terms in my first meeting with her. She was patient but kept me to the deadlines of settling the estate. She kept in touch with me and the heirs through email, phone, and post contacts in a timely but not intrusive manner. She made helpful suggestions and explained next steps for her and for the client at each phase. I recommend her strongly for anyone who is the personal representative for an estate.”