PROBATE

PROBATE is the legal process that is used to transfer title of assets from the decedent to his or her devisees (recipients named in the will) or heirs (recipients named by law). All Wills and intestate estates must be probated, but the degrees of court involvement and complexity range from simple and inexpensive to complicated and costly.

  • Will my estate have to go through probate?
  • What is the probate process?
  • What are the responsibilities of the personal representative?
  • What if random heirs contest the probate process?
  • When do I have to file the Will?

In Colorado there are three types of probates

  1. Small estates (under $50,000 and no real property).

Whether or not you have a will when you die, if you have $50,000 or less in personal property (includes bank accounts and cash) and no real property, your devisees or heirs may collect your assets by using an affidavit and not have to open a probate action through the court. This procedure requires the devisee or heir colleting the assets to swear they are entitled to it and will distribute it to any other entitled devisees or heirs.

  1. Uncontested estates (informal).

The informal process is generally allowed when there is a valid will or clear intestacy, no contests are expected, and there is a qualified personal representative ready to be appointed. The court has a limited role in the administration, but ensures that the directions in the will or intestacy law are followed and provides a venue for the devisees or heirs to hold the personal representative accountable.

  1. Contested estates and invalid or questionable wills (“formal”).

A formal probate may be required for several reasons, including when a will is contested, unclear, invalid, or when there are apparent or actual significant challenges (i.e., identifying heirs, property title disputes) in administration. The court may require that the personal representative get approval for every transaction or may allow the personal representative to administer the estate unsupervised.

Both informal and formal probates must be open with the court for at least six months, but full administration of the estate may take much longer.

As described above, “probate assets” are generally administered in one of three ways:

1) Completing an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property if the total probate estate assets are less than $50,000 and there is not any real property.

2) Filing an informal probate procedure.

3) Filing a formal probate procedure.

An attorney’s expertise is usually necessary in identifying what type of probate is necessary, and the scope of the attorney’s involvement will depend on the complexity of the estate. Even the most well-planned estates and well-written wills have costs associated with administration, including court fees, attorney fees, and the payment of the decedent’s final expenses and legitimate debts.

We are here to offer access to the legal system and representation in your case at a rate that is affordable yet providing the highest quality service to handle your probate matter. Call our office and let us make this process EASY for you and your family.