Centennial Probate Attorney
Providing Probate Solutions for Denver Residents
Dealing with the passing of a relative or other loved one is not only emotionally difficult, but it also presents challenging legal issues. Generally, such legal matters involve the disposition of the deceased person’s property and payment of their debts. Often, different parties may have competing claims over the decedent’s assets and property, which might not be resolved without engaging in litigation.
If you have been confronted with the task of distributing a deceased loved one’s property, you should contact the Law Office of Alexandra White, P.C. to consult our experienced probate attorney in Centennial for legal advice. Attorney Krista Beauchamp has a sophisticated understanding of the legal issues that arise in probate disputes.
To learn more about our probate services, please call us at (303) 647-4245 today.
Compassionate Probate Services
The law of probate concerns how the assets and liabilities of a deceased person—known as the testamentary estate—will be distributed upon their death. In probate proceedings, courts try to resolve conflicting claims about this issue based on the wishes of the deceased person. However, without live testimony from the decedent about their intent, the court can only rely on evidence such as the decedent’s Last Will and Testament.
During probate proceedings, the court appoints a person to act as the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. A personal representative has a legal obligation to administer and protect the decedent’s estate according to the decedent’s wishes and Colorado probate law.
At the Law Office of Alexandra White, P.C., we will compassionately guide you through the following probate issues:
- Informal probate proceedings: The Colorado Probate Code provides an informal probate process in cases where there are no competing claims regarding the decedent’s estate. This process is more expedient than probate proceedings with contested estates.
- Administration of small estates: Under the Colorado Probate Code, estates valued under $64,000 in personal property and with no real estate can be administered in a special, simplified proceeding.
- Supervised probate administration: In certain cases, the court must supervise the personal representative in the administration of a decedent’s estate. Typically, matters involving disputes about the appropriate distribution of the estate require court supervision of the probate case. The Court may also supervise administration if the original will cannot be found, or if the registrar has concerns about the authenticity of the will.
- Appointment of personal representatives: The Colorado Probate Code governs the appointment of a personal representative for a decedent’s estate. Typically, this role is determined per the provisions of a valid will. However, Colorado law provides a list of appropriate people to fill this role if there is not an appointment listed in a will. Anyone may be nominated for the role though, if the other qualifying individuals sign nominations, and renounce their right to claim the role.
- Legal rights and responsibilities of personal representatives: A personal representative or serves as the person responsible for handling the administration of a testamentary estate in place of the decedent. They must adhere to specific powers and duties outlined in the Colorado Probate Code.
Common Terms in Probate
Understanding the following terms may help you navigate the probate process more easily:
- Decedent - and an individual who has died.
- Testator - an individual who drafted a will.
- Beneficiary - an individual named by a testator to receive property from a will or trust.
- Personal representative or executor - a person named in a will to distribute the testator's estate among their beneficiaries and work with the probate court to ensure the decedent's last wishes are fulfilled and the probate process goes smoothly.
- Laws of intestate succession - when a person dies without a valid will, certain state laws - called intestate laws - govern what happens to their estate.
- Heir - an individual directly related to a decedent who often acts as a personal representative in intestate cases.
Keeping these terms in mind will help you navigate the probate process more easily.
How Does Probate Work?
Most probate cases follow the same pattern:
- A personal representative files for probate with the probate court;
- The court works with the personal representative and other individuals to validate the decedent's will;
- The personal representative issues a notice informing the testator's beneficiaries and creditors of their death and the probate proceedings;
- The personal representative completes an inventory of the testator's estate and documents it with the court;
- Beneficiaries may come forward to contest the validity of the will;
- The personal representative has the opportunity to liquidate the testator's assets to repay any outstanding debts they had with creditors;
- The personal representative distributes remaining property among the beneficiaries named in the will;
- The court finalizes the probate process.
It's important to note that there are ways to circumvent probate - many decedents draft a will to award certain property to beneficiaries, such as real estate, that can take a long time to get through probate.
Our Centennial probate attorneys can help you navigate your probate case and safeguard the legacy of your loved one.
Let the Law Office of Alexandra White, P.C. Help You
Are you looking for a sympathetic and knowledgeable probate lawyer in Centennial to advise you about the probate of a person’s will and the administration of the assets and liabilities they left behind? If so, you stand to benefit from consulting an experienced attorney from the Law Offices of Alexandra White, P.C. for legal counsel. You can count on the services that our skilled wills, trusts, and estates attorney, Krista Beauchamp, offers regarding probate matters arising under Colorado probate law.
Please contact the Law Office of Alexandra White, P.C. online or call our firm at (303) 647-4245 to schedule a free consultation about your legal questions and concerns today.