There are six steps to probating an estate in Colorado.
Step one is getting the Personal Representative Letters and Official Appointment.
A personal representative, most likely selected by the Decedent in their Will, must be appointed by the Court and given Letters of Appointment. These Letters are the official papers that give the personal representative the power to administer the decedent’s estate.
Step two is to notify the Proper Persons such as Heirs and Creditors of the Estate.
The personal representative must notify parties that may have an interest in the decedent’s estate such as other heirs or creditors of the estate. Once the creditors of the estate have been notified, they have three months in which to file their claims, or they are forever barred. Heirs can be notified by mail and creditors can be notified by publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
Step three is to take an Inventory of the Decedent’s Property.
The personal representative must report an inventory of the decedent’s assets at the time of death to the court. This includes –but is not limited to— bank accounts, real estate, personal property, vehicles, life insurance policies, stocks, bonds, mortgages, and debts.
Step four is to distribute Property to Heirs and Devisees.
The personal representative will deliver property that has been willed to specific devises.
Any assets not distributed may be sold at an estate sale. The proceeds from such sales become part of the estate, and are deposited into an estate account. Property is either transferred to heirs or sold.
Step five is to take a Final Accounting of the Property.
The final accounting is a list of what has come into the estate as income, what has been paid out of the estate as bills and debts, and the assets that have been distributed. This document informs the court of the actions that have taken place during the administration of the estate.
Finally, step six is to close the Estate.
An informal Probate is simply closed by filing the personal representative’s sworn statement with the court. The Probate process takes a minimum of six months to be complete.
If you have any questions about Colorado Probate, please give us a call here at Mile High Estate Planning.