First of all, I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy during these challenging times.
Probate, also called “estate administration,” is the process by which a deceased person’s will and property are handled in court. A probate case may be required even if the deceased person, called the “decedent,” died without a will, or “intestate.” Estate administration includes the appointment of a personal representative (PR), also called the “executor” in some states, and the issuance of “letters,” which give the PR authority to act on behalf of the estate.
Probate can be costly and time-consuming. Costs include court fees, appraisal and valuation fees, publication fees, and attorneys’ fees. In Colorado, the probate process takes a minimum of six months to complete, but can take several years, depending on the complexity of the estate. In the simplest probate case, a will is validated, a PR is appointed, letters are issued by the court, creditors are notified, the estate is inventoried, debts are paid, and remaining assets are distributed to beneficiaries. Probate court records are a matter of public record, exposing the estate to any person who wishes to look.
The death of a loved one can be devastating to surviving family members and going through probate while grieving is an overwhelming prospect. We have compassion for families and understanding of their grief. With over twenty years of experience in dealing with the courts and in helping families navigate probate, we can guide you smoothly through the process.
Call today for a free initial telephone evaluation of your probate case. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding probate or estate planning to avoid probate. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 303-733-0103.
Next month we will explain the various estate planning tools that you might consider in order to avoid probate.
Jeffrey Cohen, Esq., C.P.A.