Understanding When an Estate Requires Probate in Colorado
The main factors that determine whether probate is necessary to include the following:
- Where the decedent lived. To go through the probate process in Colorado, the decedent must have either been a Colorado resident or must own real property in Colorado. If the decedent was not a Colorado resident but owned property in Colorado, it may or may not be necessary to open an entire probate case in Colorado, depending upon whether a probate case will also be required in the decedent’s state of residence.
- Whether or not the decedent owned real property and how that property is titled. Suppose the decedent owned real property in their name alone. In that case, probate is likely necessary so that the property can either be distributed to the appropriate recipient or sold. If the property is jointly owned, and the joint owner survived the decedent, ownership may be passed to the joint owner without probate. When the surviving joint owner wants to refinance or sell the property, a supplemental affidavit will likely be required. If the decedent owned the property as a tenant in common, probate might be necessary to transfer their share of the property owner. Sometimes, a Supplemental Affidavit may be used, and probate can be avoided.
- The total value of the decedent’s estate. If real property ownership, as discussed in #2, does not require probate, the last consideration is the estate’s total value. For 2020, the dollar value threshold is $70,000.00, at which probate is required. If an estate’s value is below this threshold, collecting a decedent’s asset may be possible without going through probate or appointing a personal representative. The threshold limit for each year before 2020 is less. For example, the threshold for 2019 is $68,000.00.
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