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Probate 101: What everyone should know

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2022 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Probate is the process of authenticating a person’s will after they have passed away. The process is done through the court. It includes paying the deceased’s final taxes and bills, confirming the value of assets, and distributing anything that remains to their loved ones.

In Colorado, probate takes a minimum of six months. The process may take longer if the will is challenged or if there are any discrepancies.

The probate process

Whether there is a will or not probate is necessary. It helps to clarify and validate the deceased’s estate. The basic steps to probate in Colorado are as follows:

  1. Administration of the will is completed by the named executor or personal representative. They must make sure that the terms are carried out as specified by the deceased.
  2. Opening the estate, which involves filing the appropriate paperwork with the court, then verifying the estate contents. This is similar to taking inventory. The executor must create a spreadsheet and document everything in the estate. They must work quickly because the state of Colorado allows 90 days for the opening of the estate.
  3. Settling outstanding debts with creditors. Most executors run an announcement in the local paper in order to notify all creditors of the deceased’s passing. Barring any surprise claims, the administration can now move on to the final step.
  4. Filing the final account happens once everything is complete. This is when the administrative costs will be paid and the remaining assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries.

Probate may possibly be avoided in the state of Colorado if the will is explicitly clear and the assets have been handled around the will via trusts, beneficiary designations and the like.

Designating a responsible executor will help probate to go smoothly. Obtaining legal assistance is important as it will help to expedite the process and handle any unexpected issues that may arise.