The truth is most estates are finished with probate within a year and Colorado has laws which have made the process more streamlined in recent years.
There is a mandatory waiting period of six months – the creditor claim period – in Colorado. This gives creditors time to file claims after a probate notice is posted. It is up to the estate’s personal representative to notify creditors either through publication in a local newspaper or by mail. Once the waiting period is over, the personal representative gathers assets, pays debts and taxes, and distributes assets to any designated beneficiaries.
Situations where probate cases drag on for years do occur, however, they typically involve special circumstances, such as family infighting, very large estates owing federal or state estate tax, or estates that continue to earn income. For instance, an estate with many types of assets and/or many creditors wanting to be paid will take longer to administer than a smaller estate with no creditors.
Reasons why a beneficiary could challenge a will and slow down probate are:
- Close family member to the decedent is weirdly not mentioned in the Will;
- Beneficiary removed abruptly in the Will, shortly after testator passed away;
- Medical evidence suggests the testator made their Will while not in a clear mental state; or
- Suspicions that a beneficiary tampered with the Will or coerced the testator.