Denver, CO asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado

Q: Hi. How do I get something official from the court naming me as the agent of my mother's estate?

I have her last will and testament naming me as her attorney-in-fact (agent). Her will was never lodged with the county because she died March 20, 2020, ten days after governor Polis declared state of emergency due to the pandemic, closing most govt offices. My mother had no probable assets at the time of her death so my brothers and I finalized all of her affairs and paid all debts including her final taxes. Unfortunately, we overlooked three insurance policies that she owned. I'm the insured on one of the policies, my brother is insured on one and my other brother insured on the third policy. Now, three years later, i need to change ownership of the policies into each of our names. The insurance company is requiring something official from the court naming me as the agent, in order to do this. Is this something that can be done easily through the clerk as long as I have the will or is there more involved in the process? Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Rebecca Pescador
Rebecca Pescador
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Westminster, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Getting the Court document naming you as Personal Representative is usually a pretty straight forward process. You will need to go to the court and file a probate case. You can get the forms for a small fee at the courthouse or for free online at the state judicial website, Instructions on which forms to use are there as well. You will need to file the death certificate and the original Will when you open the case. Once you have opened the probate case, then the court will issue what is called "Letters Testamentary". That is the document you need for the insurance companies.

There is nothing in the process that inherently requires an attorney, as long as you're comfortable with paperwork. Your situation sounds like things should go pretty smoothly and simply. Sometimes wrinkles can crop up. If they do, getting some legal advice on your specific situation is a good idea. If that happens, contact a probate attorney to help iron out the wrinkles.

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