Death is hard to think about, but it’s important to prepare for Colorado probate and estate tax laws. When someone (decedent) passes, their possessions left behind are called their estate, which can include real estate, furniture, personal items, and financial interests, like stocks or retirement benefits. Our attorneys at Meurer Law Offices in Denver can sit down with you and plan what you want to do with your estate.
Here we’ll explain probate and estate tax laws. (COL. REV. STAT. Sec. 15-10-10)
The disbursement of the decedent’s estate (estate administration) usually happens under the supervision of the probate court who will look at the will to determine whether it is valid, invalid, or contested, or how to divide the property if there is no will (intestate).
Probate is a process involving collecting the decedent’s assets, liquidating their liabilities, paying the necessary taxes, and distributing the property to the heirs. Colorado probate law is based on the Uniform Probate Code. It’s initiated in Colorado with the filing of an application for an estate to be admitted to probate in the District Court of the county in which the deceased lived in at the time of their death.
A personal representative (called an executor or executrix) is appointed. The representative is in charge of paying the debts and distributing the excess to the beneficiaries, heirs, or devisees who survived them. After the estate has been administered and the taxes paid, the probate case is closed with the court.
Sometimes an action in probate court is not needed. If it is a small estate worth under $50,000 with no real property, the heirs can just receive assets from the will by using an affidavit and do not have to go through the probate court.
Uncontested estates can go through an informal probate process when there is a valid will or no contests are anticipated, and there is a qualified personal representative ready to be appointed. Contested estates, unclear, invalid, or questionable wills go through a formal probate process.
Both the informal and formal probates have to be open with the court for at least six months but might take longer.
What are Family Allowances?
A reasonable family money allowance out of the estate is allowed for their maintenance during the period of administration of the estate. It can’t continue for more than one year if the estate is not adequate to discharge the allowed claims.
What Assets Go Through Probate?
A person’s real and personal property at the time of his or her death.
What Assets Don’t Go Through Probate?
Property from the estate in the form of cash or other property of thirty thousand dollars in excess of any security interest and may increase with cost of living adjustments.
Does Colorado have Estate Taxes?
Colorado has no estate tax for people who die after January 1, 2005.
Are There Other Taxes Must be Paid?
Our attorneys at Meurer Law Offices in Denver understand Colorado probate and estate tax laws and can help you plan your estate. We also work with executors and surviving family members administering the decedent’s estate, including creditor issues, life insurance accounts, and all assets passing in, or outside of the probate process. We provide legal advice and representation for families with assets designated for a probate court decision, uncontested probate and trust administration, or matters involving a breach of fiduciary duty. Give us a call. We can help you figure it all out.