Gilcrest, CO asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado

Q: Do I have to hire a lawyer to be appointed Personal Representative of my late husband’s estate?

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2 Lawyer Answers

A: This is kind of like rebuilding the engine of a car. You can rebuild a car engine yourself; there is no law that requires you to hire a certified mechanic.

But you may not know how to rebuild a car engine because you lack the training and experience.

Similarly, unless you are confident that you thoroughly understand the court process associated with probating your late husband's estate, you should seek someone with the training and experience to do it for you. The best choice would be an experienced probate attorney in or near the county where your husband was living at the time of his death.

Kevin Michael Strait
Kevin Michael Strait
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Fort Collins, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: I'm sorry to hear of your husband's passing. In Colorado, no attorney is needed to be appointed as the personal representative of an estate. A personal representative is given several responsibilities, such as collecting all the deceased person's possessions, making gifts of the possessions and savings according to the will, filing that persons final taxes, and notifying anyone that might claim a debt against the estate of the deceased person. There are similar procedures for becoming personal representative if there is no will left by the deceased person.

Collectively, the tasks mentioned above, along with other duties, are the probate process.

These tasks may be comfortable for a person with financial training, a legal background, or with good organization skills. However, these tasks may be challenging and uncomfortable for someone who is less organized, dislikes formal rules, or is still grieving a deep loss. Our law firm usually finds the grief to be one of the biggest hinderances when a person tries to settle the estate of a loved one. Some people need time to heal, and a trusted law firm can take the paperwork off your to-do list.

Colorado courts use forms and templates for many routine probate tasks. Take a look at your county's court website and search for probate forms. You will likely find the correct form to submit a will to the county court and ask to be named as the personal representative. Be aware - the government will place several serious responsibilities on your shoulders if you begin the paperwork to become the personal representative.

If you wish to avoid the paperwork, or worry that the responsibilities might be too much, contact a Colorado attorney for help.

This is generalized information regarding Colorado law, and is not meant to be legal advice specific to your situation.

Rebecca Pescador agrees with this answer

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