Q: For informal probate, what documents are required to transfer real estate and savings accounts. Court order required?
I have the will and have been assigned personal representative. I've filed with the court and have "Letters of Testimony".
You can go to the Colorado Judicial Branch webpage to review all the forms. Here is a link: http://www.intotolegal.com/upcoming%20Events/Forms.html (click on "judicial branch" and then "estate cases").
For a case-specific review of what you need to file, you will need to contact a probate attorney directly.
A: You should definitely engage a probate lawyer since there is real estate involved. Generally, real estate requires the Letters, which you have. You then distribute the property using a personal representative's deed in accordance with the will, or if no will, Colorado's intestacy laws. There are nuances to this, as the deed must be of a certain date after the Letters are issued; the deed must be very carefully drafted to protect you as PR; and if the real estate was held in joint tenancy there is a different process. As for bank accounts, if there is a beneficiary or payable on death (POD) named on the account, that person gets it without going through probate. If there is not, then it goes through probate and is subject to the will or intestate statutes. Importantly, no probate assets may be distributed until all estate debts are paid. Creditors must have notice, too. A probate attorney can walk you through all of this and make sure it is all done correctly.
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