In Colorado, the families of people who die with or without a will have to go through the probate process. Probate is a legal process that is handled by the probate courts to validate wills and to administer the estates of people who have died intestate. People who die with wills are called testators.
During the probate process, the assets of a deceased person are analyzed and transferred. If the person died without a will, his or her assets will be distributed under the state’s intestacy laws. If the person died with a will, the assets will be passed under the provisions of the will. The executor who is named in the will is responsible for filing the will with the court for validation and is then required to perform a number of legal duties.
Executors must be approved by the court. Once they are approved, they will be responsible for completing an inventory of all of the assets of the decedents. They will also have to notify creditors and pay the deceased person’s debts and liabilities. They must contact all of the named beneficiaries and other interested parties. After all of the debts and liabilities have been paid, the executor will then have to distribute the assets by the terms of the will. If someone dies intestate, the court will appoint someone to serve as the estate’s administrator. The appointee has many of the same responsibilities as an executor, but the assets will be distributed under the state’s intestacy laws.
Probate administration can be complex. People who are named as executors or appointed as administrators of estates may benefit from seeking legal guidance from experienced probate attorneys. The attorneys may help their clients perform their duties correctly so that they avoid making potentially costly mistakes.