If you are dealing with the death of a loved one in Wheat Ridge, Arvada, or Golden, you may have heard the term Probate. Probate is the legal process by which a will is validated. Basically, it is a necessary process that finalizes the legal and financial situation of a deceased person. Let's look at the steps involved in a Probate case, so you know what to expect.
Steps Involved in an Arvada Probate Case: An Overview from a Colorado Probate Attorney
There are a few basic steps that most Probate cases follow:
1. The Probate case is opened when a petition, oath of the petitioner, Will, and death certificate are all accepted and approved by the judge.
2. Notices are sent to any heirs and beneficiaries. If a Will was provided, then the notices are sent to those listed in the Will. If there is no Will, then those who are, by law, set to inherit will be notified.
3. Notices are sent to government agencies, like the State of Colorado and the IRS.
4. Notices are sent creditors. The notice is also published so any unknown creditors can take action as well.
5. An estate inventory is completed. Any assets are listed and valued and known debts are listed as well.
6. Creditors that filed claims are paid.
7. If the Will included specific amounts to be distributed, then those amounts are paid.
8. Taxes are paid.
9. The remaining amount in the estate is divided among those named in the Will, or those who are set to inherit by law, if no Will exists.
10. The Probate case is closed.
Probate cases can be filed as informal Probate or formal Probate. During an informal Probate, the court is minimally involved. For a formal Probate, the court has a more active role.
Timeframe for Probate Cases in Golden
Probate cases in Colorado generally take five months to 1 year. There are issues that can arise that may extend that timeline. If someone contests the Probate because they disagree with the Will, find the Will to be unclear or invalid, or have issues with the administration of the estate, they can file a formal Probate case to address these issues. Because the court is more involved, a formal Probate will likely take longer to settle.