How can I open an estate without going to court?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2023 | Probate

As an estate executor for a relative, you probably are not looking forward to probate. The processing of an estate in court can take a while, and you likely wish to get it over with as soon as possible. Fortunately, Colorado law permits a way to simplify the process by not going to court at all.

The Colorado Judicial Branch website explains that it is possible to file a Completing Affidavit for the Collection of Personal Property. This allows you to open an estate without needing the approval of the court.

Eligibility requirements

If you are the personal representative of a recently deceased relative, the first step is to make sure the estate qualifies for the affidavit. Per the JDF 998 instructions, requirements include the following:

  • No court has appointed a personal representative for the estate
  • No court has an appointment of a representative pending
  • No less than 10 days have passed since the decedent has died

Additionally, the value of the estate must fall under a certain amount depending on the year when the decedent died. For example, someone who has died in the year 2022 must have an estate valued no higher than $74,000.

Qualified property

You may use the Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property to collect the personal property of your loved one and disperse it to heirs. However, this affidavit cannot transfer real estate to beneficiaries. If your family member owned a home, you will need to dispose of it through other means.

Given that bypassing court is an option in some circumstances, you might keep this in mind when you make your own estate plans. You may make it easier on your loved ones by avoiding court time and the expenses of probate.