The type of probate a decedent’s estate goes through influences the results of its administration. Whichever the circumstances of the estate you’re entitled to, talk to an experienced Denver probate attorney.
Here are three types of estate administration in Colorado.
1. “Small Estate” Procedures
Estates that fall below $50,000 in personal property and don’t have real property are regarded as “small.” Probate may be skipped for such estates whether or not the decedent had a will. Recipients, either named in the will (devisees) or named by law (heirs), may then not have to go to probate court.
They may collect the assets with just an affidavit. The recipients swear they’re entitled to the estate. They also swear to distribute the collected assets to any other entitled recipients.
2. Informal Probate for Uncontested Estates
An uncontested estate has a valid will, clear intestacy, and no expected legal contests. The estate also has a qualified legal personal representative awaiting the appointment. Colorado probate laws allow an informal process for an uncontested estate.
The probate court may then not be heavily involved in the estate’s administration. Despite its limited role, the court still ensures the will’s directions or intestacy laws are followed. The court also helps hold the appointed representative accountable.
3. Formal Probate for Contested Estates/Invalid or Questionable Wills
A formal probate is essential when a will is unclear, contested, inauthentic or invalid. The formal process may also be needed if there are substantial estate administration challenges. The court may allow the personal representative to administer the contested estate without supervision.
Alternatively, the representative may need to get the court’s approval for each transaction.
Recipients of a small estate often complete an affidavit before they collect probate assets. Devisees or heirs of fairly large estates may either file an informal or formal probate procedure.