Estate Administration (Probate) in Colorado - Q & A

Person sitting with head on the desk








Barbara E. Cashman, Esq.




3600 South Yosemite St., Ste. 600

Denver, Colorado 80237

Direct: (303) 226-5466

Mobile: (303) 884-4810

Fax: (303) 694-6761



            Estate Administration (Probate) in Colorado – Q & A

Will I have to open a probate after my loved one dies?

The answer is . . .  it depends!  When someone dies, some (or all) of their assets may automatically pass by law to certain persons (other joint owners, named beneficiaries, etc.), while others do not.  Probate assets generally include property solely held in the deceased person’s name and this normally requires estate administration. A will requires probate.


What does probate in Colorado involve?

Colorado adopted the Uniform Probate Code nearly thirty years ago, and the probate process is simplified.  There are three basic ways of passing probate property to heirs:

(1)  Small Estate Affidavit: where the estate does not include either solely-owned real estate interests, or more than $61,000 of personal property passing through survivorship, assets may be transferred through a small estate affidavit, without any court involvement.

(2)  Informal Administration: nearly all estates follow this process, which can be described in an overview as four basic steps  – either testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will) – that involves (a) giving notice to interested persons (heirs at law and will beneficiaries); (b) giving notice to creditors; (c) identifying and making an inventory of property and settling claims; and (d) distributing property and closing administration.

(3)  Supervised Administration: takes place in a small number of estates but is required when there is a dispute among the interested persons in an estate.  These estates generally require involvement of the court to settle disputes.


What Does “Settling an Estate” Mean?

This is the process of estate administration – basically taking care of all the business of the deceased person’s property, bills, taxes, transfers and all other matters that may be required in an estate administration.


What Does a Personal Representative Do?

What used to be known as the “executor” of the estate, the person who can act on behalf of an estate in Colorado is known as the Personal Representative (PR).  This person is legally qualified to act by either Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary signed by the probate court.  The PR is the person who is responsible for performing all the work described above, and often performs this work with the assistance of an attorney.



This overview is intended for general educational purposes only.

Provided by Barbara E. Cashman, Attorney/Mediator

©Barbara Cashman, LLC    3600 S. Yosemite St., #600, Denver, CO 80237

dir. (303) 226-5466   mob. (303) 884-4810    email:

Articles / books by this author