Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone dies in order to legally transfer the title in an asset to the beneficiaries designated in a will or trust (where the assets are not owned by the trust at the time of death).
Colorado probate law also governs the process for the distribution of property where the decedent did not leave a will. The law provides for the determination of who qualifies as an heir to the deceased and what portion of the assets his or her position in the family entitles them to receive.
During the probate process, a personal representative (also known as executor) will go through many routine tasks, such as
Identifying and inventorying estate property
Paying estate debts and taxes
Distributing property as directed by a will, trust or state law (as the situation dictates)
The probate process can become complex because there are often a number of different persons interested in the probate estate, including: creditors, other family members, beneficiaries, the surviving spouse, and the personal representative for the estate.
Each person has a different interest in the probate administration that is protected by Colorado law. In addition to the expected responsibilities, there may be other legal problems, such as relatives contesting their share of the estate, a challenge to the validity of a will or the size and types of debts included as obligations of the estate. Because of all these competing interests, the steps undertaken to complete a probate administration can be lengthy, time-consuming, and costly-if done improperly.
If you were nominated as a personal representative we can assist you with navigating Colorado probate law and the process of distributing the assets of the estate. Contact our probate and estate administration office to find out how we can make your job easier.