What is “informal probate,” and when can I use it?
Informal probate is an inexpensive way to open probate in Colorado. It does not require a hearing before a judge or magistrate to open an estate and appoint a Personal Representative.
Informal probate is only available when the deceased person died intestate (without a Will) or when the Will has no “abnormalities.” For example, informal probate cannot be used when there is a holographic (hand-written) Will. Likewise, if someone objects to your application for probate, then a hearing Will be required.
In order to open an estate informally, the appropriate JDF forms must be completed, notice must be provided to those people interested in the estate, and the documents must be filed with the proper court and the corresponding fees paid.
If you are opening an informal probate when there is a Will, JDF form 907 provides the basic instructions on what you are required to do.
If you are opening an informal probate when the Decedent left a Will, JDF form 906 provides the basic instructions on what you are required to do.
Once the required steps have been taken, the clerk will review the documents, and, if everything is in order, the clerk will issue Letters Testamentary (when there is a Will) or Letters of Administration (when there is no Will).
Once you are appointed Personal Representative, additional legal requirements and documents are required such as posting a notice to creditors, notifying interested persons of your appointment, and filing an inventory for the estate. More information on this can be found in JDF Form 906 or 907 and by viewing the website for the court in which the probate estate is pending.
If you have any questions about probate in Colorado or the duties of a Personal Representative, you should consult with an attorney. There are also clinics in most counties where you can briefly meet with a volunteer probate attorney.
This posting is for the purpose of general information only. It addresses the general application of Colorado probate law and is not legal advice. Each individual situation requires a careful review of the facts in order to properly apply the law to the facts.