Probate 101: Understanding Common Probate Terms with this Essential Probate Glossary

Probate in Colorado can be complicated. That’s generally because there are various steps to the probate process and a number of strict deadlines that have to be met along the way (just to name a few reasons).

As you get started, understanding the key terms associated with the probate process can be helpful to figuring out who the main players are, as well as what issues tend to arise in Colorado probate.

Colorado Probate Terms Defined

  • Beneficiary – Someone designated to inherit some property, per the terms of the will or estate plan. Beneficiaries can include individuals (as in family members, friends, etc.) or other entities (like charities, schools, businesses, etc.).
  • Decedent – The person who has passed away. Probate will not be needed for every estate, and decedents who put certain estate plans in place prior to their passing may help their loved ones bypass probate.
  • Estate – The assets and liabilities a decedent has left behind. An estate can include real property (like real estate, homes, cash, personal property, etc.), as well as other property (like stocks, bonds, insurance policies, etc.).
  • Fiduciary – A person entrusted with certain financial responsibilities on behalf of another person or party. In the probate process, the personal representative and/or executor will be the fiduciary, which means that the people in these roles can be held personally liable if they mismanage the estate during the probate process.
  • Intestacy – The state in which someone passes away without leaving a valid will behind. Intestate estates will be transferred according to Colorado intestacy laws, which detail priorities for asset distribution based on who the surviving loving ones for a decedent may be.
  • Letters testamentary – An official document affirming the appointment of some individual to the role of personal representative or executor. Presenting copies of these letters may be necessary when, for instance, trying to access a decedent’s safety deposit box.
  • Personal representative – The person appointed by the court to oversee the settlement of a decedent’s estate. While a decedent may name a personal representative in a will or other estate planning documents, the court may appoint another willing and capable party to this role if the named representative turns down the position (or is unable to serve in it for any other reason).
  • Testator – The person who has devised the will and estate plan. Also referred to as the decedent or grantor in probate discussions.

Contact a Pueblo Estate Probate at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth

If you need experienced representation in Colorado probate, a Pueblo probate attorney at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth is ready to provide you with the highest quality legal services.

To learn more about our superior legal services and how we can assist you, contact us by calling (719) 556- 8844 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.

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

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