Category: Estate Planning

“Baby You Can Drive My Car” – How to Keep Your Car Out of Probate

By Sam Ventola,

Losing a loved one is difficult.  Having to deal with probate matters can only increase that anxiety.  By adding a trusted person on your car title, upon your death, the ownership of your car will transfer automatically to them.  In Colorado, setting this up in advance may allow the car to be transferred outside of probate.

First step is to find the right person – It is important to determine the right person to add to your car title.  Not only will this person inherit your car if you die, but even if you don’t die, this person (or their creditors) may try to assert a right to your car.
Next, complete page 2 of Form 2395 found here.  All Colorado vehicle owners are required to declare their intent to have the Certificate of Title issued in Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship.

Lastly, visit your local DMV to make your changes on the car title.  To find the one closest to you, click here.

At Ventola Law, we provide a variety of solutions for all probate and estate planning needs.  We would appreciate the opportunity to meet and exceed your expectations.


Sam Ventola has a wide variety of experience in litigation, legal education, and mediation. He has been an attorney on both sides in business litigation, employment disputes, probate litigation, and personal injury cases. In addition to being an attorney, he has been a mediator, hearing officer, labor relations professor, and lecturer on litigation, employment and First Amendment issues. He has also achieved the rating of AV Preeminent® by Martindale Hubbell.

Providing for minor children in your will – the contingent trust

By Sam Ventola,

silhouette-childrenIf you have minor children, what is the best way to provide for them in a will if both parents die? For most people, the answer is the contingent trust. When many people hear the word “trust” they think of something incredibly complicated and expensive. In reality, however, a contingent trust makes sense for most people, even when they do not have large estates.

Of course, if one parent dies, most wills will provide for all assets to be left to the spouse who is left to take care of the children. A will should provide for a contingent trust, however, in case both parents die, such as in an accident.

One might think that your money and property could just be left to a trusted friend of family member who will be asked to care for the children. There are problems with this approach. First, this does not ensure that the assets are used to care for the children. Second, your assets would become subject to claims of creditors of the person you designated.

If you have minor children, review your will and make sure it provides for a contingent trust. Also, remember that although you may be assuming that all your property will be distributed according to your will, this may not be the case: insurance proceeds with named beneficiaries, pay-on-death bank accounts, and property held in joint tenancy may be subject to distribution in some other way if you did not properly name the beneficiaries. For all these reasons, even those with small estates should seek legal assistance if they have any doubts about their wills and property.

If you have questions about contingent trusts, wills, or estate planning, please visit us at