Probate is the process of finalizing the estate of someone who died. It helps ensure matters follow the law and heirs receive their proper inheritance. The Colorado Bar Association notes that state law requires all estates with assets valued over $74,000 to go through probate.
The process can sometimes be very fast, or it can take a long time. One factor that will lengthen it is if someone with an interest in the case brings up an objection Still, even without someone contesting, the time it takes to close out probate depends on how quickly the estate moves through the required steps.
The initial phase is the gathering of assets. Personal representatives, those responsible for managing the deceased’s estate, must compile a comprehensive list of assets. This includes bank accounts, real estate, investments and personal property. The timeline here hinges on the complexity of the estate. In simple cases, the executor can accomplish this relatively quickly, whereas more intricate estates may take longer.
Addressing debts and taxes
The next step is addressing debts and taxes. Personal representatives must identify and settle any outstanding obligations. Debts could encompass mortgages, credit card balances or medical bills. Uncontested probate is advantageous here because disputes over debt claims are less likely.
Distribution is the final step, where the personal representative divides the assets among the beneficiaries according to the deceased’s wishes. Not having any contests expedites the process because there are no disputes or disagreements regarding asset allocation. However, it is important to bear in mind that the specific timeline depends on the size and complexity of the estate and how long it takes the executor to find the heirs.
The state does require probate to remain open for at least six months, but with everything in order and no issues, this could be the maximum time a case takes. The actual timeline comes down to how easy it is to organize the process and the people involved.