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Wheat Ridge Probate Attorney

When someone dies in Colorado, their estate must pass through the probate process to legally transfer assets to their recipients. Whether you are a beneficiary or bear the responsibilities of a personal representative, Colorado Estate Matters can provide sound advice regarding your rights and legal options, answer your questions, prepare legal documentation, and represent you in court.

You can depend on us to manage your estate matters with integrity and precision and to take your case through the process as efficiently as possible. Our Wheat Ridge attorneys are committed to providing personalized attention and the highest-quality legal representation. When you partner with us, you put your case in capable, caring hands. Contact us online or call (303) 713-9147 to schedule your free consultation.

wheat ridge probate attorney

Colorado Estate Matters is the leading probate law firm in Wheat Ridge

Colorado Estate Matters has made it our mission to provide clients with peace of mind, clarity, and the assurance that they’re making the best choices for themselves and their loved ones. We’re not just legal partners; we’re confidants and advocates, committed to ensuring our clients’ futures are well taken care of.

Estate laws and legal proceedings are complicated. It is easy to make mistakes, omit important details, or misunderstand estate and intestacy laws. Family conflicts or old resentments can rear up, creating even more turbulence in settling the estate. Your attorney with Colorado Estate Matters is your advocate throughout the probate process, protecting you from costly legal errors or unjust treatment.

We help you protect your assets

Some risks your probate lawyer can help you avoid include completing paperwork and legal filings. These documents include affidavits for small estates or estate-opening court requests for informal and formal probate. Additional documentation must be collected and submitted for informal and formal procedures. In addition, not all assets are “probate assets.” Your attorney will review the estate to determine which assets warrant distribution without going through the probate process.

Your attorney will handle:

  • Legal filings
  • Asset review
  • Creditor identification for small estates
  • Oversight of applying Colorado succession intestacy laws for informal “clear intestacy” proceedings

Protecting your rights as heir, personal representative, or beneficiary

Your attorney will also protect your rights and your role as personal representative, beneficiary, or heir. Your lawyer can help keep the legal transfers smooth and help you protect the assets you inherit from the estate.

Don’t just take our word for it – Here’s what our clients have to say

It is not an exaggeration to say I would have been lost without you and your excellent team. You patiently outlined and explained every step I needed to take in order to be compliant with Colorado law. You were available to answer my questions regularly. Having gone through a similar process in Virginia a few years ago after our mother died, I knew I was extremely fortunate to have found your firm.


After the passing of our parents, it is likely my experience with siblings ranks near the bottom in terms of their willingness to sacrifice family relations for money. Throughout a four year process of litigation, including a number of lawsuits filed by siblings, Justin’s advice was always directed towards minimizing costs and seeking ways to resolve the conflicts. I am sure his guidance resulted in the best possible outcome for me. Thanks Justin


How does Colorado Estate Matters help me throughout the probate process?

The probate process has four stages: opening the estate, documenting estate assets, settling debts and claims, deducting administrative fees, and distributing assets to close the estate. Each state has specific, often challenging tasks best managed by an experienced Wheat Ridge probate lawyer.

1. Opening the estate

In the first stage of the probate process, the estate must be opened through a court filing. Then, the court must issue appointment papers to the personal representative. The personal representative must secure a tax identification number and a bank account for the estate and notify creditors.

2. Documenting estate assets

Next, the personal representative must prepare an inventory of probate assets. If any assets are in another’s possession, the personal representative has to collect those assets. An attorney will help identify probate assets and collect or prepare documentation.

3. Settling debts and claims

The personal representative must “settle up” with creditors, paying outstanding debts or claims. An experienced attorney can help ensure creditors receive payment but can also serve as an advocate, perhaps negotiating reduced settlements.

4. Distributing assets

Finally, after paying administrative expenses, including burial costs and professional fees, the personal representative can complete the final distribution of assets to devisees and heirs. To officially close the estate, the personal representative can:

  • Notify the court of the estate’s full administration and that the representative has completed all necessary mandated tasks. This process represents an “informal” closing.
  • Provide documents to the court and beneficiaries, including accounting plans and a plan for proposed final distribution of estate assets, and set a date for a court hearing. This process represents a “formal” closing.

The court itself can close the estate if no one has taken action regarding the estate in three years. This process represents an “administrative” closing.

wheat ridge probate lawyer

Our Wheat Ridge probate attorneys help you prepare wisely

Unless your appointment as a personal representative is a complete surprise, there are ways to prepare for probate. First, before the person owning the estate passes, work with them to keep records and important documents in order and accessible. Also, the estate owner should be encouraged to be specific when assigning assets to beneficiaries.

Keep open lines of communication with heirs and beneficiaries. By keeping involved parties informed, you can work to settle disputes that could arise later and slow down the probate process. Finally, seek a skilled Wheat Ridge probate attorney who can advise you on steps to take now to facilitate a smoother process later.

Colorado Estate Matters has experience managing all types of probate in Wheat Ridge

Probate is the legal process followed when a person dies, and their estate is distributed among beneficiaries (or devisees), heirs, and/or creditors. This process involves different levels of complexity, expense, and court participation depending on the type of assets the deceased person owned, how they owned those assets, and the assets’ value, among other potential factors.

According to the Denver Bar Association, there are three types of probate in Colorado: small estates, uncontested estates, and contested estates with invalid or “questionable” wills. Probate for uncontested estates is “informal,” and for contested estates, “formal.”

What is considered a small estate?

Small estates are valued under a certain amount, including real property. The “certain amount” undergoes yearly updates, and for a 2024 year of death (YOD), is $82,000. Heirs can collect the deceased’s assets by submitting an affidavit without opening a probate action with the court. To collect, devisees or heirs must swear they are entitled to those assets and will distribute them among other devisees who are also entitled.

How do I know if the estate qualifies as small?

A Wheat Ridge probate attorney can determine whether the estate falls into the small estate category. They can ensure you complete and submit the affidavit properly and help determine if the small estate probate process is your best option, even if the estate qualifies.

For example, you may take a small estate through probate if you do not know all the deceased’s creditors. If you omit a creditor but do not realize the omission until the process is underway, you may need to start the entire process over. An attorney can help you find and notify creditors before beginning the small estate process.

In other instances, you may expect disputes among beneficiaries or others who need to return assets belonging to the estate before the process can be completed. As an appointed personal representative in formal probate proceedings, you would have the legal authority to resolve these issues, but you do not have that power in small estate proceedings.

Efficiency is the greatest benefit of small estate probate. Typically, estates settle more quickly and with less cost as no lengthy court process is involved. However, a probate lawyer in Wheat Ridge can help determine if following the small estate path is right.

Colorado Estate Matters is the premier probate law firm in Wheat Ridge, CO

The team at Colorado Estate Matters is here to help you through the probate process, whether you are a beneficiary or bear the responsibilities of a personal representative. Call (303) 713-9147 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation with a seasoned Wheat Ridge probate attorney.

Common questions answered by our Wheat Ridge probate attorneys

What is considered an uncontested (informal) estate in Colorado probate?

The courts typically permit uncontested (informal) probate processes when the deceased leaves a valid will, there are no anticipated contests, and a qualified personal representative is available for appointment without conflict. When a person dies without a will, they are considered “intestate,” and Colorado intestate succession laws determine the distribution of assets. The informal process also applies if there is “clear intestacy,” which means the avenue for distribution under Colorado law is apparent and without complexity.

For uncontested estates, the courts have a limited role and typically ensure the deceased’s wishes, as established in the will, are honored. When there is no will, the courts oversee the application of intestacy laws to asset distribution and provide a means for devisees or heirs to hold the personal representative accountable.

A Wheat Ridge probate lawyer from Colorado Estate Matters can offer trustworthy representation whether you are the appointed personal representative or a devisee. As with small estates, informal probate leaves it to you to notify creditors. An attorney can help you avoid omissions.

What counts as a valid will in Colorado probate?

A Colorado will must meet several criteria to be legally valid. First, the person creating the will, the “testator,” must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. Testators must also have a general understanding of:

  • What their assets are
  • Who their family members are
  • How the will affects those who inherit

Testators must also ensure the will represents their wishes and instructions. Finally, only wills signed voluntarily, not under duress, coercion, or other undue influence, are valid.

Wills prepared without an attorney must be created in writing and signed by the testator. Should circumstances prevent the testator from physically signing the will, another person can sign on the testator’s behalf, but only if the testator gives permission and the person signs the will when the testator is physically and consciously present.

An attorney can also draft and type your will, creating it properly and leaving no room for dispute. Then, as the testator, you sign the will in the presence of witnesses and (potentially) a notary public.

What are considered contested estates and invalid (or questionable) wills in Colorado probate?

Formal probate measures will probably be required if:

  • Someone contests the will.
  • The will is unclear or invalid.
  • There are significant challenges in administering the will, such as identifying heirs or conflicts regarding property titles.

In these cases, the court may require the personal representative to obtain approval for every transaction or allow the representative to administer the estate without supervision.

Documents requesting the court to open the estate and appoint a personal representative must be filed for informal and formal probates. Informal probates do not demand a court hearing, and once the court clerk determines the file is complete, they can issue an order to open the estate and appoint the representative.

For formal probate, all devisees and heirs must be notified upon filing the court documents and then have the opportunity to object. If there are no objections, the court will move to open the estate and appoint a representative. However, if objections are received, the court will require a hearing where beneficiaries present their disputes. Informal and formal probates must be open for at least six months, though administering the estate can take significantly longer.

Helpful information about Wheat Ridge probate

Visit our office

Discuss legal needs in person at our convenient Wheat Ridge location:

3000 Youngfield Street

Suite 100

Wheat Ridge, CO 80215

Jefferson County Probate Court

Visit Jefferson County Probate Court at 100 Jefferson County Parkway, Golden, CO 80419. Call the Probate office at (720) 772-2540.

Except for court holidays, the courthouse is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. To file court papers, make payments, and obtain copies of court documents, visit the Clerk of Court’s office during the following hours:

  • Monday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Helpful resources about probate in Colorado

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