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Closing an Estate: Final Steps in the Probate Administration

Closing an estate can be difficult as there are multiple factors you must keep in mind. This includes speaking to various parties, gathering the documentation, and dealing with the emotions that may arise during the final process.

It is essential to hire a Denver estate planning attorney to help you gather the paperwork, guide you on the regulations and requirements, and ease you into the process so you don’t need to worry about the nitty-gritty details.

Understanding probate real estate and the requirements you must deal with when attempting to close an estate can help you finish it on time. Since closing the estate is the final step of the process, it must be done carefully to avoid any issues in the future.

What Is Probate Real Estate?

The probate administration procedure involves administering all the assets of a deceased person. These assets often include real estate. With the help of a qualified Denver probate lawyer, it is much easier to navigate the complexities of the process.

This legal process is divided into two main parts: management and distribution of the deceased person’s assets. During this process, debts are also settled. However, this process must parallel court supervision, assuring a fair estate distribution.

The more organized the process, the more protected creditors and debtors feel.

The Estate Planning Process

Here are all the steps involved in estate planning (remember that to start the estate planning process, you must inform the court first, apply for the authority to distribute the assets, and identify the assets you need to manage);

1. Notifying the Creditors and Settling Debts

Before you proceed, it is essential to invest some time in the first step, notifying the creditors of the deceased person’s passing. This can be achieved through a notice in the local newspapers, eventually leading the creditors to file claims against the state.

Once these claims are received, you can begin reviewing, organizing, and settling the debts through the estate assets. With an estate planning lawyer, Colorado, this process is made easier.

A probate lawyer can ensure that all of the claims made by creditors are carefully reviewed for any discrepancies and that all deserving creditors receive their amounts in full. It can also protect you from clients looking to take advantage of your estate through fraudulent claims.

2. Distributing Assets to Beneficiaries

Once you are done with the debts, the remaining assets should ideally be distributed to the estate’s beneficiaries. These can be identified through the will of the deceased. If a will doesn’t exist or is unclear, you can take it to court and leave it up to Colorado law.

Yet again, this process is much easier with an experienced Denver probate lawyer by your side. Smaller details, such as failing to obtain releases from all the beneficiaries, may lead to disputes in the final steps of probate administration. With a probate lawyer, you don’t need to worry about settling disputes and dealing with court proceedings. You can leave it up to them!

3. The Tax Return Process

When closing an estate, you must also brush over any final details that you might have left out. If you have hired a lawyer, ask them whether they have filed the final income tax return, as a failure on their part may lead to penalties and legal complications.

The Final Steps in Probate Administration

Once you are done with the initial process and have ironed out the essential details, you can move on to the final and most important steps. Hiring a Denver estate planning attorney is the only way to avoid common probate administration issues.

4. Estate Accounting

Once you are done with the basic steps, it is time to file the final accounts and petitions that outline all the debts and taxes you have paid and notify the court that the estate is ready for distribution and closure.

You should file the petition within a year of receiving the Letters of Administration. Yet, other requirements, such as filing a tax return, may extend this period. Consult an experienced estate planning lawyer, Colorado for more information.

You must submit the estate accounting (this can be exempted through signed waivers by all distribution recipients), the administration report highlighting all your actions, and a petition to the court outlining everything that needs approval. Once the documents are filed, you will receive the final probate hearing dates.

5. Final Steps

The court may require you to file a judgment of final distribution listing all of the assets you distributed through a detailed account. This must be submitted ten days before the hearing. The approval should be recorded and saved.

You must prepare for the final hearing once this is out of the way. During this time, you should also give a notice of the hearing to every related party. Simply fill the front and top half of the back of Form DE-120 and ask an unrelated party to mail or deliver the Notice of Hearing. Make sure to get them to sign the Proof of Service by Mail.

Once the hearing is done, the judge will review your documents and inform you of the approvals. This will be followed by a release from liability. The most crucial step is notifying the IRS and Franchise Tax Board that you aren’t acting as a fiduciary for the estate anymore.

Final Thoughts

If you are considering closing a probate estate, expect multiple deadlines, complicated forms, procedures, and extensive hearings. Hiring an experienced Denver probate lawyer can help you stay afloat in the tiring process.

Have more questions about the process? Contact Bourassa Law Group at 800-870-8910 for the most experienced lawyers in the Colorado region. Join us as we take you through the smoothest probate administration process!

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