Cost Of Probate In Colorado

August 31, 2021

The Boulder County Area Agency on Aging states that fees associated with probate, which include legal and court fees, often amount to 5 percent of the estate’s total worth. Often, that amount may be less, but also with little to no estate plan and other professionals having to get involved in the process this amount can also come to a much greater percentage.

The article provides in-depth reasons and ways to avoid probate. Saving time, paperwork needed to be completed and filed, and the time it takes to overturn the property to beneficiaries are some of the main reasons why avoiding probate is important. However, another huge factor is the cost associated with probate. While the exact process of probate will differentiate from case to case, depending on things like, the estate plan documents that were in place and how many assets are in the estate, the cost can quickly add up, taking money from the estate that could otherwise be distributed to beneficiaries.

If you would like to find out more about the cost of probate in Colorado and what you can do to prepare an estate plan that will help you save money for your beneficiaries, an experienced attorney at Johnson Law Group at (720) 463-4333, can help by answering all your questions and preparing an estate plan that will allow you to accomplish all your goals for your estate.

Factors That Determine the Cost of Probate in Colorado

In order to determine how much the process of probating an estate will last and how much it will cost, a few factors must be considered. Those include:

  • Location of the estate (different counties can have different filing fees);
  • The complexity of the estate (some assets allow simple transfers to beneficiaries, while others may require a longer process, which may require court’s attention and approval);
  • The size of the estate;
  • Whether any estate planning documents were in place (Last Will and Testament or trust may help the process cutting back time and costs); and
  • Whether anyone contests (questions or sues) the estate.

Additional Costs To Consider

When thinking about the probate process, there are also additional fees that must be taken into consideration because even though they may seem relatively small individually, when added up together, they can make up most of the costs associated with probate, even in simple processes. Some of those fees include:

  • Filing fees (probate, transfer affidavits, etc.);
  • Attorney fees;
  • Executor fees (Colorado does not have a statute governing the amount of executor compensation, which means that reasonable compensation can be determined by probate court. According to org a reasonable executor fee is about 1.5% of the estate);
  • Other professional fees (accountants, appraisers, surveyors); and
  • Probate bond (can usually be avoided with the right estate plan in place)

While having even a simple Last Will and Testament often can bring many of those costs down or will eliminate them completely, it is important to keep in mind all possible expenses in the planning process and discuss your options with an attorney who can help you better understand your options between having a last will and testament versus a trust.

Probate Attorney Fees in Colorado

The reason why the cost of probate in Colorado can quickly add up, even for smaller estates, is because of some of the professional fees associated with the process. Attorney fees being one of them. While a well-executed estate plan may only require minimal attorney assistance with filing the appropriate documentation and would only cost a few hundred dollars for a small estate, costs this low are rare. According to the Denver Bar Association, a small estate in Colorado is considered less than $50,000 in personal property, without any real estate. Because estates are larger than $50,000 or have real property that needs to be transferred, the more common range of probate attorney fees in Colorado is between $3,000-$5,000, with some estates costing significantly more if they were much higher in value or required multiple real property transfers.

How To Avoid High Probate Costs in Colorado

Many are reluctant to create an estate plan because they believe the cost of creating one is very high. While some simple Last Will and Testaments can be created by an attorney and cost only a couple hundred dollars, a Will alone is not a sufficient estate plan and can still lead to a costly process, especially if before death a person is unable to make his or her own financial decisions, but did not have directives allowing others to make those decisions for him or her. This can lead to debts that would have to be resolved as part of the probate process.

The differences between a will and a trust, and advantages and disadvantages of both can be explained by an experienced estate planning attorney. However, the average cost of probate, excluding attorney fees, can be several thousand dollars. As mentioned above, attorney fees can easily add another few thousand dollars to the costs, especially for bigger estates or when the decedent did not have an estate plan in place before death.

The cost of an estate plan is most likely a flat fee, which the attorney quotes upfront and can work with clients in various ways for them to be able to afford it, the cost of probate is an unknown variable that cannot be determined until after the person passes away and the probate process is started which determines what assets are in the estate and how they can be distributed.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Today

The cost of probate in Colorado can have many unknown factors making the process confusing and daunting. If you are thinking about your estate planning and how you can avoid probate in Colorado and would like to find out about all of your legal options, contact an experienced estate planning attorney. Johnson Law Group at (720) 463-4333 can help explain all of the options available to you and help you in making the right decision for your estate and family.

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Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
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