The idea behind probate is simple. It is the legal way to make sure the right people get what they should when a person dies. However, the process is a little more complicated. The rules are different for each state.
You should consult with a Denver probate lawyer to make sure it goes the way it should in Colorado. In the meantime, check out these quick facts about probate in Colorado.
Some estates do not go through probate
People with less than $64,000 worth of assets and no real estate does not need to go through probate. This is true whether the person who passed away left a will or not. Any heir can simply sign a Small Estate affidavit, and that is all. It does not need to go to probate court at all.
Some estates qualify for informal probate
When an estate is more than $64,000, and there is a valid will with an executor that no one will contest, it can go through informal probate. You might need a probate lawyer to file some forms for approval by the probate court, just to be on the safe side. It is mostly a formality. The court will not have to supervise anything.
No will means probate
Estates with no valid will and worth more than $64,000 have to go through formal probate in Denver. This means that a probate judge will have final say over the distribution of the estate.
A will also mean probate
If you make a will for your estate, and it is worth more than $64,000 and/or you have real property, it does not mean your heirs can avoid formal probate. You might be able to have a “transfer upon death” designation for assets like retirement funds or life insurance, and these do not go through probate. All other assets with no such designation do, however. The judge will oversee the distribution of the estate and give directions to the executor.
Probate takes about a year
Some people think probate takes forever, but not in Colorado provided there is a valid will. The process for estates in Denver has a holding period of six months after the executor posts a probate notice. This gives creditors time to file their claims. After that, the executor has to pay all taxes and debts of the estate before distributing it to the heirs.
Some cases do take much longer to resolve. Estates without a will. For example, or contested ones can take years to settle. Very large estates with large tax obligations and those that earn income after the death of a person can also take a long time to process.
Probate costs depend on many factors
Formal probate comes with costs such as court and appraisal fees. If you retain a lawyer, there will be a fee. However, if there is a will and it is straightforward and uncontested, the costs are minimal, especially for small estates. A probate lawyer can give you a rough estimate depending on the circumstances.
A Denver probate lawyer knows all the facts to help you through the probate process. If the estate comes with some issues, you will need one.