Common issues and challenges in probate

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Probate

Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate. This involves validating the will if one exists, settling debts and distributing assets to beneficiaries.

Probate ensures a clear, legal transfer of assets and provides a structured way to handle the deceased’s affairs. However, navigating probate in Colorado can present several issues and challenges, including:

Contested wills

Heirs or beneficiaries might dispute the will’s validity, alleging undue influence or lack of capacity, leading to lengthy and costly legal battles. These disputes often arise from family dynamics or perceived inequities in the will’s provision. 

Creditor claims

Creditors have a right to claim any debts owed by the deceased. Disputes about the legitimacy or amount of these claims can prolong the probate process. Verifying and settling these claims can also be complex, especially if the estate’s records are incomplete or creditors are uncooperative. 

Handling complex assets

Managing assets like businesses or real estate requires detailed appraisals and may necessitate specialized knowledge, which can be time-consuming. Additionally, selling or transferring ownership of such assets can involve intricate legal and financial considerations. 

Executor errors

The executor or personal representative must manage the estate diligently. Errors may include failing to properly inventory assets, missing filing deadlines, or not adhering to fiduciary duties, which can delay the probate process. 

Family disputes

Even if the will is clear, disagreements among heirs about the division of assets can cause significant delays and emotional strain. These disputes often stem from long-standing family tensions or differing interpretations of the deceased’s wishes. 

While probate may involve various potential pitfalls, understanding these common issues can help individuals prepare for potential scenarios. Proper planning and clear communication can help ease many of these challenges. They may seek appropriate legal assistance to ensure a smoother probate process and make the journey through probate more manageable.