Estate Executor Attorneys in Longmont
What Is an Executor?
The death of a loved one is never easy, and even with good planning there
is still work to be done. At some point the deceased person's property
will need to be administered. Most people have heard the term "executor."
This is the person, or sometimes more than one person, who manages the
estate of a deceased person and ultimately distributes property to heirs
or beneficiaries. Colorado uses the term "personal representative"
instead of executor, but the duties are the same. If the person died with a
will, the will generally names the person who will act as personal representative.
If the person died without a will, then Colorado law lists the persons
who have priority to be appointed personal representative.
However, sometimes there is a "tie" and several people have equal
priority. This is common when an unmarried person dies but is survived
by children. The children all have equal rights to be appointed personal
representative. However, this need not be a problem. If the children all
agree on who should assume the role of personal representative, those
who will not act can resign or "renounce" their right to be
appointed. Don't assume that the oldest should be chosen. Being a
personal representative is not an honorary title - it takes work. The
person chosen should be good at keeping records and managing money.
Schedule an initial consultation with our probate attorneys in Longmont
by calling (720) 809-8310 as soon as possible.
How a Personal Representative Is Appointed
A personal representative is always appointed by the court even if the
deceased left a will. In Colorado, however, this process can be informal
and can be completed without a court hearing as long as everyone gets
along. Once appointed, the personal representative has several duties.
One of the most important is to put the interests of the estate in front
of the personal representative's own interests. The personal representative
may not favor one heir or beneficiary over another. The personal representative
must manage property of the estate with utmost care.
The personal representative must:
- Collect and inventory the assets of the estate
Manage the assets during the
- Pay the final bills of the deceased
- Make distributions to the heirs or beneficiaries
What Happens to Debt?
A common question that we receive concerns the deceased person's debt.
Many family members are concerned that the burden of the debt will fall
on them. Unless a family member co-signed on the debt, surviving family
are not responsible for the deceased person's debt. However, creditors
must be paid from assets of the estate. This means that the final distributions
to heirs or beneficiaries will be reduced by the amount of debt, but should
the debt exceed the family of the estate, the creditors lose.
Creditors may begin calling soon after death. Tell them to wait. It is
important to first collect all of the assets of the estate and determine
their value before paying creditors. Similarly, the personal representative
should not make distributions of property until all of the creditors are
known. Creditor claims are subject to certain time limits and once these
pass, the claims are cut off. Once everything is finished the estate can
be closed. Generally speaking, a simple estate can be administered in
about a year. But there is no time limit, so if complications arise, there
is no need to rush.
Please get in touch with us
to discuss your specific legal needs. Our
Longmont probate lawyers are here to help!