The Colorado Probate Code allows for publication in a newspaper of proper jurisdiction. Proper jurisdiction would be to publish in the county the decedent resided and where the probate has been initiated. When the probate has been filed and the Personal Representative has been appointed, arrangements should be made for a Notice to Creditors to be published. The notice to creditors should be published once a week for three consecutive weeks with the claim period stated as four weeks from the first date of publication.
A probate must remain open for a minimum of 6 months or for 1 year from the date of death of the decedent. If notice is not published in the newspaper, the estate must remain open a minimum of 1 year from date of death. If notice is published, the probate may be closed as soon as 6 months from the date of the first publication.
Creditors may file their claim with the court in which the probate has been opened or directly with the Personal Representative or his or her attorney. The Personal Representative has a responsibility to provide an accounting of income and expenses of the estate if it is requested by a creditor. The claim may also be challenged by the Personal Representative it the Personal Representative believes the claim is not a valid debt.
At the end of the creditor claim period, the Personal Representative should review assets and begin payment of claims. The Colorado Probate Code defines different types of claims by class and payment should be made to those creditors who have priority. As a personal Representative may be held personally liable for claims if the settlement is made incorrectly, the importance of seeking appropriate legal counsel from a Colorado probate attorney cannot be overstated.