Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Colorado

This question concerns whether a particular will must be submitted for probate. The estate has assets of less than $60,000, not taking into account thousands in health costs incurred by the decedentís past hospital bills. Since the executrix (the decedentís wife) paid some of the decedentís substantial past bills with her own funds, she has been left with a minimal amount on which to survive. The decedent named among his beneficiaries in the will not only his wife but his children. Now the attorney for those children (both children and attorney are located in another state) are demanding that the will be probated. I realize that probate is required if any of the decedent's estate assets did not pass by operation of law. The wife feels that she will be forced into bankruptcy if the will is probated.

Thanks Ė Maria Th., Colorado

Asked on 8/07/11, 3:50 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bernard Greenberg KOKISH & GOLDMANIS, P.C.

An estate in Colorado must be probated if there is any real estate owned by the Decedent, or when there is more than $50,000 in non-real estate assets.

Your friend should consult with an experienced estate attorney for advice. If the assets do not require an estate to be opened, then she cannot be forced to do so. However, the children can seek to open the estate on their own since they are "interested persons" under the Colorado Probate Code.

The Will should be filed with the Court even if a probate estate is not opened. Your friend should be aware of her rights and responsibilities before proceeding further.

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Answered on 8/08/11, 8:37 am

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