Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 6, 2020

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If the value of a Colorado decedent’s estate does not exceed $50,000, it can be distributed by affidavit, a process in which the decedent’s successor files a document requesting release of the property anytime up to 10 days after the decedent’s death. This speeds up the legal distribution of the property and allows the beneficiary to bypass Colorado probate court. Because of this Colorado law, some people plan for their estates to fall under $50,000 in value to avoid lengthy probate processes.

However, if an estate exceeds $50,000 in value, the probate process can take one of two paths in Colorado: informal or formal probate proceedings. Disputes among interested parties usually trigger a formal probate proceeding in Colorado; otherwise, an informal proceeding, involving designating an executor of the estate and filing forms, takes place and usually ends within 7 to 13 months. Formal probate proceedings usually require the assistance of an experienced Colorado probate attorney; informal probate does not.

For more information, check out our article on the Basics of Colorado Probate.