What is formal vs. informal probate?

What is formal vs. informal probate?

When someone dies and probate is opened in Colorado, the first decision you need to make is if the probate process will be formal or informal.

During a formal probate process, the probate court pays closer attention to the case and takes a more hands-on approach. Usually, formal probate is used when there’s a suspicion or concern that someone will raise an issue about the deceased person’s will or how their estate will be distributed. Formal probate can also be used when the person who died left no will and it’s not clear who the heirs are.

During an informal probate process, the probate court still oversees things but it’s less involved than it is with a formal process. Informal probate can be used when no one is contesting the will or distribution, therefore, making litigation unlikely. If someone dies without a will, informal probate can still be used if it’s clear who the heirs are.

If you are looking for affordable legal help with an estate plan or probate in Colorado, schedule a free consultation today.


This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems.

Lauren Lester is an affordable family law, estate planning, and probate lawyer licensed in Colorado.