4 Factors that Can Complicate Colorado Probate

4 Factors that Can Complicate Colorado Probate

Probate is notorious for being a complicated, involved and, at time, costly process. While comprehensive, up-to-date estate plans and wills can help loved ones minimize future probate obligations (and reduce the related costs), there are a number of factors that can have the opposite effect – making the probate process more complicated and drawn out. Here’s a look at some of those factors.

What Can Complicate Colorado Probate Cases

  1. The absence of a will or estateplan – When a loved one passes away without leaving behind a will, (s)he is said to have died “intestate.” This effectively means that Colorado laws will dictate how that individual’s estate is to be passed on to the surviving loved one(s), with spouses, children, parents and siblings (i.e., close relatives) generally being prioritized for inheritance. Intestate estates can take longer to probate (when compared to estates for which there is a will and estate plan in place) because it can require or involve inventories of the estate, resolving paternity issues, etc.
  2. Will contests – Even when a decedent leaves behind a will, there can still be complications in probate, particularly when any “interested party” chooses to contest or dispute the will. Interested parties can include heirs, creditors and others. Grounds for raising will contests can include (and are not limited to) the testator’s incapacity when authorizing the will, failure to execute the will (according to Colorado laws), fraud, and coercion (i.e., the testator was forced by threats or violence into executing the will).
  3. Issues with the personal representative or executor – In some situations, allegations that a personal representative or executor has breached his or her fiduciary duties (in administering and setting the estate via probate) can also complicate these cases. Examples of breaches of fiduciary duties include (and are not limited to) favoring certain heirs or creditors over others, misappropriating the assets of the estate, and failing to act in away that preserves and promotes the interests of the estate. When these allegations arises, involved investigations may ensue, extending the duration (and raising the costs) of Colorado probate.
  4. No legal representation in the Colorado probate process – Given that there are many steps in the probate process and that various factors can complicate it, having the representation of a skilled probate lawyer can be essential to making the right moves at every step – and to avoiding the pitfalls that could entangle the case. This is true for both personal representatives and executors, as well as beneficiaries.

Contact the Pueblo Attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth

For experienced help and representation in Colorado probate, contact the Pueblo attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth. Our lawyers are ready to guide you through the complexities of the probate process and protect your rights and interests at every phase. Experienced and respected, our Pueblo lawyers have been dedicated to helping our clients with their probate and estate planning needs since 1972.

To set up an initial consultation and discuss your needs and options, contact us by calling (719) 556-8844 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.

From offices in Pueblo, we represent clients in Pueblo, Trinidad, La Jara, Lamar, Walsenburg, Alamosa and throughout the state of Colorado.