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Informal Probate

Probate Attorney in Grand Junction

Colorado has two forms of Probate; Informal and Formal. The purpose of Probate is to settle the claims of creditors, file and pay the deceased' taxes, manage the estate assets until the estate is closed, and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.

Certain circumstances require the Formal Probate of an estate, but sometimes Formal Probate is merely desirable to extend an additional degree of protection to the Personal Representative. Both types of Probate commence with the appointment of the Personal Representative, the person who will be in charge of administering the estate.

A "testate estate" involves the Probate of a Will and distributions are made according to the instructions in the Will. An "intestate estate" occurs when there is no Will to Probate and we must look to the Colorado statutes for direction in determining who will be a beneficiary of the estate. Both testate and intestate estates can utilize the informal procedure.

Where there are no disputes between the heirs and the estate is uncomplicated, Informal Probate typically is preferable. An example of an estate that is suited to Informal Probate is one where the deceased owned a home, a few bank accounts and investments adequate to pay the claims of creditors. For estates using Informal Probate the Personal Representative is not normally supervised by the court and court approval is not required to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.

The Informal Probate Procedure

Once the Will is admitted into Probate and the Personal Representative is appointed, he will collect, inventory and manage the assets of the estate; pay the creditors; file and pay the deceased' final taxes; make distributions to the heirs and beneficiaries of the estate; and close the estate. No final court approval is required. The minimum time required for Informal Probate is six months. However, it is prudent to leave the estate open for one year since all creditor claims are extinguished at that point.

Grand Junction Probate Lawyer

The Law Offices of James A. Littlepage, a Grand Junction Probate and Estate Planning firm, has been helping clients since 1993 with Probate matters. Mr. Littlepage has prepared over 2,000 estate plans and recently was recognized with a 2015 and 2016 Five Star Estate Planning Attorney℠ award. In 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 he received the Five Star Wealth Manager℠ award, as seen in 5280 and ColoradoBiz magazines. For legal advice and assistance regarding Probate matters, please contact our Grand Junction office for a free 30 minute consultation for estate planning and probate.