As industry leaders in the Colorado legal field, we often get asked about Formal vs. Informal Probate; what is the difference?
One can anticipate the informal probate process to be less expensive and time-consuming than the formal probate process.
Formal probate could be required if the estate is complicated or if there is some probate litigation (e.g., a person challenging the will or doubting the identity of a decedent’s heirs).
The formal probate process is mandatory when an intestate estate has no clear succession. For example, an heirship hearing must be determined even if there is a will.
During an heirship hearing, all possible heirs can voice their interest in the decedent’s real property, although judgment of heirship is crucial to inherit.
Suppose a title is issued without appropriate heir determination. In that case, legal issues may occur for the person to whom the property was titled or deeded, and there may even be estate tax law issues.
No matter which method you undergo, both formal and informal probate takes (roughly) a minimum of six months to complete.
During this window, all of the heirs, potential heirs, beneficiaries, or devisees (if there is a will), debtors, creditors, and potential creditors shall be notified of the decedent’s death at the commencement of the probate action.
This process will involve a standard notification form and is among the duties a personal representative must carry out.
Among the duties that a decedent’s representative must fulfill are the following:
- Collecting all personal and real property of the decedent
- Reviewing claims filed by creditors
- Securing payments from debtors
- Ensuring that valuable property is properly assessed
- Finishing federal and state tax returns for the decedent (as necessary)
Preparing and submitting a final account of the estate’s administration to the probate court after the decedent’s assets have been distributed to the appropriate heirs and beneficiaries. Notice: the heirs and beneficiaries may not access these assets until all debts and taxes have been paid.
If you are concerned about your probate situation, you should speak with a skilled probate lawyer Colorado Springs residents use. The Colorado Springs probate lawyers at Baker Law Group have years of experience helping clients navigate the complex world of probate law.