Generally speaking, Colorado has a good probate system. The State of Colorado doesn't get any portion of your estate and a simplified, “Informal Probate” is available for most people. The average timeframe to complete an Informal Probate is about seven months, and costs average between $3,000 - $6,000. (All paid out of the estate.) So when does probate get really expensive?
1. Heirs begin arguing over the terms of the estate.
Disputes over the terms of a Will (or absence of a Will) take the estate out of “Informal Probate” and send it to “Formal Probate”. Attorneys are required for all sides, and court filings and supervision are dramatically increased.
2. Passing away with real estate outside of Colorado.
This causes probate proceedings to be opened in all states where property is owned, and costs increase dramatically. Don’t worry - this doesn’t mean you need to sell all non-Colorado property before your pass away. There are simple ways to address this.
3. Mixed-marriage families without a Will or Trust in place.
This one is the most common, and can be very costly. If two individuals are married, and each has children from a prior relationship, sorting matters out in the absence of a Will or Trust can be very difficult.