Probate is the process where a person's estate and assets are verified and distributed after they have passed away. It is handled in the Jefferson County probate court and the chosen executor of the estate is tasked with carrying out either the court orders or the wishes of the deceased. There are many myths and misinformation floating around regarding probate in Colorado. Let's answer some of the frequently asked questions about probate.
Common Questions About Probate in Colorado
Q: I have a small estate. Will my estate still have to go through probate?
- A: It truly depends on what you mean by small. Colorado has levels when it comes to probate court: small estate, informal probate, and formal probate. If your estate is worth no more than $64,000 and there is no real property in the estate, then a Small Estate affidavit can be signed to avoid probate court. Informal probate is appropriate when an estate is worth more than $64,000, there is no one contesting the will, and an executor has been chosen. Formal probate is used when someone contests the will and a judge must approve any actions the executor wants to take. Any way you look at it, the court is somehow involved in settling an estate.
Q: Can probate be avoided with a will?
- A: While a will provides great insight into how you want things handled after your death, it does not guarantee that probate can be avoided. If the estate is worth more than $64,000, then some form of probate is necessary.
Q: Does the probate process really take years?
- A: While there are certain situations that can cause a probate case to extend out, most cases are done within a year. There is a mandatory waiting period of six months to give any creditors time to file a claim. Once that waiting period is up, then the executor can pay any debts and distribute assets to the beneficiaries.
How an Arvada Probate Attorney Can Help You Through the Process
Even though probate is not the long scary process many think that it is, it is still a legal process. It can be comforting to have someone who knows the process in and out, can advise you along the way, and can keep you apprised of the situation. That is exactly what the expert probate attorneys from the Pearman Law Firm can do for you.