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How probate affects jointly owned property

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Probate |

When a loved one dies, knowing how the probate process works is important, especially if you owned property together with that person. Depending on the ownership structure, probate can impact the transfer of property.

As a joint owner, you may have certain rights and responsibilities. Understanding the specifics of probate in Colorado helps you know what to expect and how to protect your rights and interests.

Joint tenancy

This form of ownership gives joint tenants equal rights to the entire property. When one owner dies, the individual’s interest in the property typically passes directly to the surviving owner(s) without going through probate. This transfer is due to the right of survivorship principle, which allows you to inherit the deceased owner’s share automatically. In this situation, you can often transfer ownership by filing a death certificate and a new deed. This process simplifies things and ensures a quicker transfer.

Tenancy in common

Tenancy in common is Colorado’s default form of co-ownership unless the deed expressly states joint tenancy. With this type of ownership, each owner has a distinct, separate share of the property. When one owner dies, the person’s property share becomes part of their estate. It goes through probate to determine who receives the ownership.

Probate process

The length and complexity of probate varies depending on the ownership type and whether there is a will. An executor or administrator manages the estate. This person takes inventory of your loved one’s assets and uses them to pay off any outstanding debts and taxes.

The court then determines how to distribute the deceased owner’s assets, including the share of your jointly owned property. It allocates ownership according to the person’s will. If there is no will, Colorado’s intestacy laws apply.

Understanding these factors helps you manage an ownership transfer process more effectively. Experienced knowledge of probate ensures the smooth transition of property ownership during a difficult time.