Your Guide to the Colorado Probate Process
It’s hard to imagine your own demise or that of a family member or close friend. However, no one can prevent the inevitable so it’s important to prepare the estate before the end of life. When someone dies, their leftover possessions are their “estate”. An estate is anything from real estate to furniture, a car, company stock, retirement benefits, etc. We will discuss how Colorado Probate Process works by dissecting Colorado Probate Law.
In Colorado, the settlement of affairs is known as “estate administration” which takes place in a county probate court. Numerous factors will affect the probate process. The biggest factor is the presence or absence of a will. Without a will, the process is going to be full of headaches.
“Personal Representatives” or “Executors” of the estate are usually adult children or surviving spouses. The “Personal Representative” or “Executor” and carries the responsibility of:
- Gathering and valuing the assets owned by the estate
- Paying taxes and bills
- Eventually, dividing the assets among the beneficiaries or legal heirs
Informal vs. Formal Probate Process
Let us now discuss the types of probates proceedings that are prevalent in Colorado. There is an informal probate process, which is relatively simple. Informal probate is useful when the Personal Representative or Executor is willing and able to serve. Informal probate requires:
(a) the deceased individual left an original and uncontested will
– or –
(b) no questions or doubts about the recipient of the deceased’s estate according to Colorado Probate Law
The formal probate process means there is a requirement to notify the Executor about the validity, terms of the will, or the heirs of the estate. The formal probate process is also used when a nominee for Personal Representative or Executor cannot be located.
When small estates have a value of less than $50,000, legal heirs can collect their respective assets through an affidavit and don’t have to adhere to the court-mandated procedure. Families of the deceased receive a reasonable allowance in cash from the estate for maintenance during the administration phase. There are no estate taxes in Colorado for descendants who expire on or after Jan 1, 2005.
“Validating the Will”
One of the key purposes of probate law is to deter fraudulent activities following the death of a person. It is a tool in the legal arsenal, which freezes the estate until a judge makes a legal determination of the validity of the will. “Validating the will” ensures that all the relevant parties have been notified that all the property of the estate has been recognized, evaluated, and payment is made to creditors and tax authorities. One completion of these matters, the court distributes the property and closes the estate.
Finally, decisions relating to deceased’s estate are serious and intricate matters, where you may find yourself in difficulty navigating the probate procedures. Due to this difficulty, we can provide referrals for great probate attorneys in Colorado. We specialize in the Colorado Probate Process, and our experienced attorneys will be more than happy to answer your questions.