The end of a person’s life is also the start of the legal process to ensure that the decedent’s estate (personal possessions, financial accounts, etc.) does not go unclaimed. Probate and estate administration are different aspects of this legal process.
- Probate: the court process to ensure that an estate is properly settled and all property is distributed to beneficiaries.
- Estate Administration: the process undertaken by a specifically-named individual to handle all of the details of settling the estate such as ensuring all assets are accounted for, distributing assets and paying all outstanding debts/taxes, etc., on behalf of the deceased.
If there is a will, the probate process may be a little simpler – especially if the deceased named someone they know to be the estate administrator or executor. If there is no will (meaning the person died in intestate), the courts will assign a person to be the estate administrator/executor and take on the role of tying up all of the loose ends of the estate.
Every state has different rules around the probate process. In Colorado, small estates with little-to-no property may not have to go through the probate process. However, it is definitely in your best interest to have the courts ensure that your loved ones get what is rightfully theirs after you pass away.
The estate administrator may be faced with snags in the probate process if there are any challenges made regarding how the will was written or who receives the estate (in the case of no will). These snags can get extremely messy, with family fighting and lawsuits being filed. If you have been named an estate administrator and you are feeling overwhelmed with the process, a probate lawyer can help take some of the burden off your shoulders.
The Denver probate lawyers at Brown & Crona, LLC can guide you through the probate process and handle the duties of estate administration. Contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to meet with our experts.