Colorado Probate Court

Quick Guide to Colorado Probate Court

Colorado Probate Courts

Colorado probate court procedures are similar to other states with relaxed probate procedures.  As always, there are unique laws within CO probate courts, and a beneficiary, petitioner, and executor should be aware of all these laws.  A transfer of estate property may not have to go through Colorado probate court in some circumstances, and these measures will be explained below.  

Do I need to go through CO Probate Court?

Many probates are simplified under the Uniform Probate Code, and 90 percent of all probates within the state of Colorado require no court supervision.  Assets are either distributed through an informal probate procedure, through a formal procedure, or through the use of an affidavit.  

In order to qualify for the affidavit and least difficult probate process, all of the assets must value less than $50,000 and there must be no real property. If the probate can pass with an Affidavit, the assets are collected from the person or institution holding the property.  Then, the affiant distributes the property upon whom is entitled to the estate under the decedent’s will or under the intestacy laws.  

Informal and Formal Probate

If the assets total more the $50,000, a court requires the decedent’s will to be filed at the District Court.  All wills must be submitted within 10 days of the decedent’s death regardless if the process requires no probate.  Once the will is submitted and petition is filed, the court will appoint a personal representative or executor.  They executor is then required to fulfill the following steps before administering the estate:

1) They must notify the local newspaper and any known creditors of the decedent 

2) They must provide inventory for all assets and their individual and collective value 

3) They must keep accurate records of all transactions

4) They must provide all creditors with repayment of debt and then take inventory of the remaining estate

5) The assets are then transferred over to the decedent’s heir and beneficiaries

6) The executor must make sure all tax returns and utilities are handled appropriately as well.  

An executor in the state of Colorado has the right to open and maintain an estate bank account as well, but before the case is closed, all of the bank accounts must be consolidated.   Additionally, because the personal representative acts as the fiduciary of the estate, there have to abide by the following standards under CO law:

1) To handle the interests of creditors and beneficiaries alike and to their fullest extent

2) To administer the estate will ethical action and interest for both the beneficiaries and creditors

3) To undergo the duty of undivided loyalty

4) Act prudently as possible

Does Colorado have specific probate courts?

The answer is yes, and no.  The only district within the state of Colorado with a separate probate court is Denver.  All other districts allow probate to go through the local Circuit Court.  You can find all local courts under the official website of the state’s judiciary wing.  

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