When a person drafts a will and estate plan, they will choose someone to carry out their wishes - called a personal representative or estate executor. This title carries many responsibilities, both before, during, and after the probate case. Let's look at some of those responsibilities.
Before Probate: Handling the Funeral and Arrangements in Golden
Even before the court formally appoints you as the personal representative, if you are the chosen executor, then you have the authority to carry out the wishes related to the funeral and burial. These are generally addressed in the will and estate plan. As far as assets are concerned, at this point you cannot remove or give out any of the estate assets, but you can take steps to protect the assets.
Wheat Ridge Probate: General Duties of the Executor During Probate
As a personal representative, you must always consider what is in the best interest of the estate, putting any personal interests aside. Within 10 days of the death, the will must be submitted to the Jefferson County probate court so a probate case can be opened. The only exception is if the estate is worth less than a certain amount and no real estate is involved, then an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property may be filed and no probate is necessary. The amount is currently around $65,000, but is re-evaluated yearly depending on the cost of living. Contingent on how the heirs respond to the will can determine what type of probate: formal or informal. Formal probate generally occurs when heirs disagree about specific issues and the court has to make the final ruling. Informal probate is the easier process and occurs when no one contests the terms of the will. Other responsibilities during the probate period include:
- Take inventory of all the assets;
- Manage the assets while the estate is in probate; and
- Pay the final taxes, bills, and debts;
After Probate: Closing the Jefferson County Case and Distributing Assets
After everything is handled with the probate case, you are responsible for closing the case and finalizing it in probate court. This can happen through an informal closing, where you file a form stating that the estate has been fully administered. With an informal closing, heirs have one year to challenge how it was administered. You can also do a formal closing, where the court signs off on the estate administration and you are released from liability.