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How Do You Know if Probate is Necessary?

When a loved one passes away, the nominated personal representative must distribute the decedent’s property according to the terms of the decedent’s will. The process of carrying out these final wishes and passing of property to beneficiaries can seem drawn out and complicated. Many wills must go through probate to complete this process, but how do you know if probate is necessary?

There are 3 types of estates, and each has its own process for probate in Colorado:

Small estates with no property: For a decedent that dies in 2022, her assets are worth less than $74,000, and the decedent did not own any real estate, her estate will not require a full probate proceeding. Generally, the beneficiaries of this type of estate may collect property without going through probate court.

Uncontested estates: If there are no challenges to the will, these estates go through an informal probate process. While probate is still necessary, this is usually a smooth process with minimal oversight from the probate courts. Property and assets are distributed according to the will. If there was no will, property and assets are distributed according to Colorado inheritance law.

Contested estates: When litigation is likely to occur regarding the validity of the will or appointment of personal representative, these estates may go through a formal probate process. A formal hearing will be required, so the court can determine the validity of the will and decide who will be appointed as personal representative.

Additionally, there are some assets that do not go through probate, no matter the size. Jointly owned real estate are inherited by the surviving owner. Any assets that had a designated beneficiary, such as financial accounts, will go directly to the designated beneficiary without probate.

Probate can seem like an overwhelming process, especially when it comes after the death of a loved one. While probate does take time and attention to detail, you do not have to navigate the legal process alone. At Brown Law, LLC, our team of lawyers can advise you on when probate is necessary and guide you through the process of filing and completing the probate process. Contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to meet with one of our team members.