What is Probate in Colorado?
Probate is a Jefferson County Court process with the purpose of correctly distributing the estate of a person after they have passed away. Probate is set up to verify the validity of a last Will and testament, inventory and appraise the property of the deceased, pay off any outstanding debts and taxes, and then distribute the property and assets to legal heirs.
Types of Estate Probate Cases
There are varying degrees of probate depending on the specific situation. If the deceased has a small estate and there is no one questioning the will, an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property can be filed in lieu of a probate case. If the estate is larger than $50,000 and is uncontested, an informal probate case is filed where a personal representative is appointed and the court maintains a limited role. For contested estates, a formal probate case must be filed, and a judge makes many of the decisions.
What is Contested Probate or Contested Estate?
With a contested probate case, a person contests, or questions, the will or property division of a deceased person. It is filed as a formal probate case. This contested probate case is generally filed when one party disagrees with the will, feels the will is unclear or invalid, or identifies significant challenges in the administration of the estate. When a contested formal probate case is filed, a personal representative is assigned to oversee the estate while it is being investigated and divided. The personal representative is an impartial party tasked with inventorying the estate and managing the assets until the court has closed the estate. The representative must keep records of any transactions and must put the interest of the estate ahead of any personal interests.
Reasons a Will is Contested
There are numerous reasons why a last will and testament may be contested. Perhaps someone does not feel that the will accurately reflects what they were promised by the deceased. You may feel that your loved one was manipulated by undue influenced to change their will when they were vulnerable. There are also instances where someone contests a will because they question whether the decedent had a diminished capacity at the time the will was executed. Technical issues regarding the way the will was signed, notarized, or witnessed may also be grounds for invalidating a will.
How an Experienced Probate Attorney in Wheat Ridge Can Help with a Contested Probate Case
If you are contesting the will of a deceased loved one, you will need an expert probate attorney to help you through the process. Legal challenges to a Will’s validity are complicated. Contested probate cases usually involve high emotions. You want to have someone who can be objective and present the legal arguments to support your case. In order to contest a will, your lawyer must file a petition with the Jefferson County Court outlining your arguments for why the judge should invalidate the will. There must be legal reasoning behind these arguments – so its best to consult with a knowledgeable probate attorney. Allow them to review your case and provide you with your options and best course of action.
If you are dealing with a loved one’s estate and have questions about contesting the validity of the will or other options you may have, call the Jefferson County Court probate attorneys from the Pearman Law Firm, P.C. at 720-259-9528, or toll free at 888-835-6339, or by email, for a free initial phone consultation.