What Is a Living Probate
Many people are familiar with probate upon the passing of an individual, but most are unfamiliar with a “living probate.” A living probate occurs when one is unable to make financial or medical decisions for himself or herself. Often times it involves an individual who must take care of their aging parent or a child who was in an accident, but it can happen to anybody over the age of eighteen (18).
Under Colorado law, a living probate may involve proceedings to control both the financial and medical affairs of one in poor health. A Colorado Guardianship proceeding involves medical care and long-term care issues. A Colorado Conservatorship proceeding involves one’s financial affairs.
While Colorado law attempts to reduce the amount of control one has to give up over their affairs, the living probate process can invade one’s privacy. It can also be a demoralizing, humiliating and costly, as it may require court oversight for several years and even possibly for the rest of an individual’s life.
Avoiding a Colorado living probate is quite easy. One simply has to have the proper estate planning in place prior to becoming incapacitated. The two most important documents are a Financial Power of Attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney. Both documents allow an individual to designate an agent (decision-maker) to handle his or her financial and medical affairs when he or she is unable. Having these two documents in place can avoid the necessity for the invasive, costly and possibly ongoing Guardianship and Conservatorship legal proceedings.
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