How Does the Wills and Probate Process Work in Colorado

 In Blog, The Protected Family

Because of the various probate fallacies surrounding the procedure, the Colorado probate process terrifies and irritates the general public. These probate FAQs are intended to dispel some of the most frequent probate myths, alleviate some of the fear associated with the Colorado probate process, and explain how probate works in plain terms.

Read on to learn where to find wills and probate lawyers in Colorado. 

How Does Colorado Probate Work?

Probate is a legal process in Colorado that involves multiple steps. We’ll go over them in further depth later. The purpose of the probate procedure, on the other hand, is to provide a broad accounting of all of a decedent’s assets, which can include both real and personal property (sometimes known as the decedent’s assets or “estate”), as well as any obligations due or payable to outside creditors.

After certain stages in the probate case have been completed, the personal representative or executor of the estate may distribute the decedent’s assets to the various heirs or named beneficiaries.

What Is the Probate Process in Colorado?

There are three fundamental probate actions to take with an estate attorney in Colorado: 

  • Probate of a small estate;
  • the process of informal probate; and
  • probate court procedure.

Although the purpose of the probate procedure is the same, the process for each type of probate differs slightly. A small estate is a collection of personal property valued at less than $70,000 (as of 2020) and contains no real estate (i.e., no houses or land, etc.). 

A probate form called a small estate affidavit is prepared and filed with the probate court in this case. Heirs may then collect the decedent’s assets after filing and receiving court approval of a small estate affidavit. The probate court process is minimal with a small estate.

Informal and Formal Probate 

Informal probate entails completing certain probate forms with the probate court in the county where the decedent resided when they died. Informal probate varies from formal probate in that the probate court is less involved in the process. There is no anticipation of the will (if there is one) or any other important issue being challenged.

If there is no will, the estate administration follows a clear succession line. Colorado probate law specifies how the decedent’s assets would be inherited if someone dies without a will.

The formal probate procedure is the part of the estate management that requires the most interaction and attention from the probate court. If the estate is complicated, or if there is potential for probate litigation, such as someone opposing the will or the identity of all of a decedent’s heirs, formal probate may be required.

Both the informal and formal probate processes require a minimum of six months to complete. The decedent’s heirs, possible heirs, beneficiaries or devisees (if a will exists), debtors, creditors, and potential creditors must be notified of the decedent’s death and the start of the probate action.

This notification necessitates the use of a specific probate form and procedure. We’ll skip that section because we’ll be talking about wills, but suffice it to say; that the personal representative has specific responsibilities. This includes collecting all of the decedent’s personal and real property, reviewing creditors’ claims, securing payments from debtors, and ensuring that valuable property is properly assessed.

If necessary, complete the decedent’s federal and state tax returns and prepare and submit wills. The heirs or beneficiaries cannot access the assets until all debts and taxes have been paid.


To probate a will in Colorado, you must first identify whether the estate management is an informal or formal estate. This is a difficult decision to make. An estate lawyer in Colorado can assist you in figuring out what kind of estate you’re dealing with and what kind of probate proceedings you should start to get a will probated.

Contact our wills and probate lawyers in Colorado at Estate Planning Lawyers Colorado for your estate planning needs, including wills, trusts, probate, and legacy planning.

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