After your loved one’s passing, you may have already known that you would take on the role of executor of the estate. If so, having this information in advance may have allowed you to gain some information on the duties you would have during the probate process. Still, you may not fully understand what probate will entail.
As the executor, you will have several responsibilities to address in order to ensure the correct settlement of your loved one’s final affairs. Any mistake could prove costly during these proceedings, and you may find yourself having to contend with conflict nonetheless.
Basic probate steps
Each probate case will differ because each estate differs from one to the next. As a result, the exact steps that you will need to take to ensure that your loved one’s estate closes properly will likely be unique to your specific circumstances. However, many of the basic steps of probate are the same in each case, and some of those include the following:
- Presenting the will to the court to ensure its validity
- Gathering your loved one’s probate assets
- Paying remaining debts, tax obligations of the estate and other claims
- Collecting remaining rights to income
- Addressing any conflicts that arise, such as contests to the will
- Distributing the probate assets to beneficiaries and heirs
While these steps may seem relatively straightforward, they can take a considerable amount of time to complete, and if your loved one’s estate is particularly sizeable or complex, it can take even more time. It is also important to remember that each of these aforementioned steps will likely have many sub-steps involved. Additionally, if someone does contest the will or brings other claims against the estate, the probate process cannot move forward until the resolution of those disputes.
Because probate proceedings can be complicated and because you likely do not have a substantial amount of legal knowledge, it is wise to gain professional help throughout probate proceedings. A Colorado attorney can help you ensure that you understand your duties as executor and your options for completing the process in the most timely manner possible. Knowing that you have a legal advocate on your side may help you feel more confident as you work through the necessary legal processes associated with settling your loved one’s final affairs.