Types of Probate in Colorado
During probate, the will is reviewed and declared to be legally valid, and then assets are distributed to named beneficiaries. In Colorado, there are three chief ways in which probate is conducted: informal, formal, and supervised. Estates with less than $50,000 in assets and no real estate are not probated at all.
Informal probates comprise about 90% of Colorado probates. They are handled by a “registrar” instead of a judge, simple forms are available online, and no attorney is required. Although the personal representative is confirmed by the court, assets are usually distributed without the supervision of the court.
However, when a beneficiary brings charges of inaccurate, negligent, or fraudulent distribution of assets by the personal representative, the Colorado court will supervise distribution, even in informal cases. Less than 1% of informal probates are supervised, since Colorado presumes that personal representatives will act responsibly, prudently, and in good faith.
In Colorado supervised probate proceedings, the personal representative is required to submit accurate, detailed, and timely accountings of asset distribution. Sometimes, a personal representative will actually request the Colorado court to supervise distribution, in order to preclude any future claims of dishonest or negligent conduct on the personal representative’s part.
Formal Colorado probate involves cases where there is a true dispute concerning the validity of the will, the estate is exceedingly complex, or there are incidental accusations. For example, a third party may have obtained the will through undue influence or coercion. In cases where a genuine legal complaint is made, formal procedures must be adhered to, in order to provide both parties with a fair and impartial adjudication. A Colorado probate court will supervise distribution in less than 10% of formal proceedings.
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Last Modified: 11-02-2012 12:10 PM PDT
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