Q. The Colorado Court of Appeals issued a mandate on my case. How do I get my appeal bond refunded?
A. E-file a Motion for Release of Appeal Bond with a Proposed Order. Once the Judge signs the Order, the staff assistant will be notified and a check will be issued for refund of the bond.
Q. I (attorney’s office) was charged an electronic filing fee in error. How do I get my money back?
A. Notify the clerk’s office and give details of the error (i.e. case name, number, date of filing and filing ID). A Refund Authorization will be prepared and a check cut to Courtlink, who will in turn refund or credit the attorney.
Q. What forms do I need to open a probate estate with a will?
A. You will need an Application JDF 910, an Acceptance of Appointment JDF 911, Letters JDF 915, Renunciation of Appointed Personal Representative (if applicable) JDF 912, Irrevocable Power of Attorney (if Personal Representative is out of state) JDF 721, Informal Appointment of Personal Representative JDF 913.
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Q. What forms do I need to close the estate?
A. For an INFORMAL closing (no notice) you will need to file a Verified Statement of Personal Representative Closing Administration, JDF 965. For a FORMAL closing (notice and hearing) you will need to file a final settlement and distribution JDF 960, 942, 719, 964, 730, 962/963, and 731.
Q. Where do I open a probate estate? What county?
A. Venue for opening a probate estate after a decedent's death is:
- In the county where the decedent had residence at the time of death,
- If the decedent was not a resident of this state, in any county where property of the decedent was located at the time of death
Q. Do you have legal services available for Pro Se Parties?
A. The Denver Probate Court provides procedural and general information to parties without attorneys in the Denver Self-Help Center, Room 368 of the City and County Building (1437 Bannock St., Denver, CO 80202; phone 720-865-8746). The Self-Help Center is open Monday - Friday from 8:00AM to 4:00PM. The Denver Probate Court is also grateful to have a Volunteer Attorney office staffed by volunteer attorneys on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:30PM to 3:30PM.
Q. What is notice?
A. Notice is a way to tell people that a hearing is going to be held or that the Court is going to order something to happen.
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Q. Do I have to “give notice”?
A. The law requires you to give notice to interested parties. If you do not show the Court proof of notice before hearing, your hearing will be cancelled.
Q. What is the difference between a guardianship and a conservatorship?
A. A guardian is responsible for the "person," that is housing, food, medical decisions, the like; a conservator is responsible for the assets of the protected person only.
Q. Under what circumstances do I have to file my credit report and/or my criminal background report with the probate court?
Prior to the granting of any Guardianship or Conservatorship, State law now requires the filing of a completed Acceptance of Office (in place of Acceptance of Appointment) including a name-based criminal history check and a current credit report for each nominee. Acceptance of Office forms (JDF 805) are available in the Denver Probate Court Clerk’s Office or go to forms page.
Criminal history and credit report requirements may be waived by the Court for good cause OR in specific circumstances. For example, in cases where the nominee is the parent of a child, lives with the child and is seeking guardianship and/or conservatorship, the criminal history and credit report requirements may be waived. (See paragraph 8 of the Acceptance of Office form or HB 1013 for more information on specific waivers.)
Nominees requesting waiver of the criminal history and/or credit report requirements should indicate good cause/reason for waiver in the blank on the last line of paragraph 8 of the Acceptance of Office form. Paragraphs 3 through 6 must be completed in all cases, including those in which a waiver is requested. Waiver of the criminal history and/or credit report requirements may be obtained on the day of hearing.
Nominees should be prepared to answer questions from the Court or provide an Acceptance of Office form for all other names the nominee has used and other states in which the nominee has lived. If an additional Acceptance of Office is required or if criminal history and/or credit report requirements are not waived on the day of hearing, the hearing may be continued/reset in order to allow sufficient time for the necessary documents or reports to be filed.
In order to protect a nominee’s right to privacy, Social Security numbers and credit account numbers should be redacted before documents are filed electronically and will be redacted on pro se filings before documents are scanned and uploaded by Court staff. All credit reports will be and remain sealed in the Court File/S.
Instruction for obtaining a name-based criminal history check or a current credit history are located at the bottom of the second page of the Acceptance of Office form. As of July 1, 2003, the cost for a named-based criminal history check through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is $6.85. The cost for a current credit history varies.
Q. What do I need to do to have another adult take care of my child(ren)?
A parent who wants someone else to be legally responsible for the care or his/her children can proceed by use of a power of attorney or by having a court appoint a guardian.
Power of Attorney: Under Colorado Revised Statutes §15-14-105, a parent or guardian of a minor may delegate powers to another adult for the care, custody or property of the minor for a period not exceeding 12 months. The parent/guardian needs to sign a Delegation of Powers (download form) but the Delegation form does not need to be filed with the Court or approved by a Court order. The Delegation of Powers is an appropriate form to use when parent(s) may be temporarily unavailable (e.g., traveling, ill, or otherwise unavailable). A Delegation form should contain a termination date. The original, signed Delegation should be notarized and should be given to the agent named in the Power.
Guardian of a Minor: A Guardianship is more formal, can extend until the minor reaches adulthood (age 18) and can be terminated only by a Court order. To obtain appointment as guardian for a minor follow these steps:
- File a completed Petition for Appointment of Guardian for Minor JDF 824.
- Prior to the granting of any Guardianship, the Colorado Legislature now requires the filing of a completed Acceptance of Office, JDF 805 (in place of Acceptance of Appointment) including a name-based criminal history check and a current credit report for each nominee. To obtain a name-based criminal history check from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), contact the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, 690 Kipling Street, Denver, CO 80215, telephone (303) 239-4300 or at http://www.cbi.state.co.us and click on "Background Checks." To obtain a current credit check you may contact any of the following credit reporting agencies: TransUnion 1-800-916-8800, http://www.transunion.com; OR Experian 1-888-397-3742, http://www.experian.com; OR Equifax 1-800-685-1111, http://www.equifax.com
- If the minor is twelve years of age or older, the minor may nominate a Guardian by signing a Nomination or Consent of Minor (JDF 826).
- If the biological parent consents to the appointment of guardian for the minor he/she should sign the Consent of Parent form (JDF 825).
- If the proposed guardian lives out-of-state, he or she must file a signed Irrevocable Power of Attorney Designating the Clerk of court as Agent for Service of Process (JDF 721).
Once the above documents have been filed and the docket fee of $164.00 is paid, you may obtain a hearing date by calling the docket line 720-865-8349 Tuesday - Thursday from 10:00AM to 12:00PM.
After the hearing date has been assigned, follow these additional steps:
- Complete the Notice of Hearing to Interested Persons (JDF 806)
- Mail, fax, or hand deliver the Notice of Hearing to Interested Persons (JDF 806) to each of the people listed in the Petition for Appointment of Guardian for Minor (JDF 824) at least 14 days before the hearing. Complete the Certificate of Service, which is attached to JDF 806 and file it with the court at least 48 hours before the hearing. Failure to timely complete and file the Notice of Hearing may result in your hearing date being vacated.
- If the Minor is age 12 or older, notice must be given to the minor by personal service by using Notice of Hearing to Respondent (JDF 807). Minor must be personally served with Notice by a person age 18 or older who is not a party to the case. The person completing service must fill out a Personal Service Affidavit (JDF 807).
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Q. What is an Ancillary Proceeding?
A. An ancillary proceeding is one in which a personal representative appointed in another state (a foreign personal representative) wishes his/her letters recorded in Colorado so that business may be more readily conducted here. For example, a person appointed as personal representative in Kansas, may need to sell Colorado property belonging to the decedent’s estate.
- Venue is proper in the county where property belonging to the estate is located.
- Submit original certified copies of the out-of state letters to the court. (To be considered current, letters must have been certified within 60 days).
- Download the Ancillary Proceeding forms
- The Filing fee is $164.00 and certified letters will be issued at the cost of $20.75 each. A case number will be assigned.
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Q. What are your hours?
A. We are open Monday - Friday from 8:00AM - 4:00PM., except on State holidays.
Q. What is an appropriate rate to charge for services as guardian and conservator?
A. An appropriate answer is usually something like "It depends on the circumstances."
Here are a few general guidelines:
Family members generally serve without a "fee" although a family member usually keeps a record of out-of-pocket costs and applies for reimbursement.
For persons who are appointed to these fiduciary positions who expect and are entitled to be paid a fee for services, the rate can range from $15.00 per hour to over a hundred dollars per hour depending on a number of factors, including: the complexity of the service provided, the amount of responsibility assumed, the outcome or result achieved, time lost from regular employment, rate earned at regular employment, and fees typically charged in the community by similarly skilled persons providing similar services. Conservators and guardians should not expect to charge a fee for time spent in the routine preparation of a fee invoice or a petition for approval of fees. These standards are set out in the Colorado Probate Code and are discussed in Colorado case law.
Professional persons (such as lawyers and accountants), appointed as conservator or guardian, may ordinarily charge their regular hourly rate only for services provided in their professional capacity. For example, an attorney may charge his or her regular billing rate for drafting legal documents but not for attending a care conference or balancing a checkbook. Keeping in mind the factors set forth above, the attorney would either reduce his or her regular billing rate to the "market rate" or, if appropriate, delegate the tasks to his or her clerical or bookkeeping staff or hire another person to provide the service at the "market rate."
The Court's primary interest in overseeing protective proceedings is to insure that the protected/incapacitated person receives appropriate care and protection over the balance of his or her life at reasonable, competitive market costs. The Court is not interested in spending the least amount possible, but is also not willing to allow a fiduciary to spend more than is realistically necessary on services that could be provided under the circumstances for a lesser amount.
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Q. If I am notifing creditors by publication do I also need to send out a letter by mail?
A. The Notice to Creditors by publication is sufficient to notice the creditors. You do not have to mail personal letters of notification to each one.
Make sure to file the proof of publication with the Court that the Newspaper sends you.
Q. Is on-line record search or record request available?
A. On-line record search is not available at this time. However, records search request is available on-line. [Click here] to learn more.
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Q. What is Comman Law Marriage?
A. Colorado recognizes the legality of common law marriage. Whether or not a common law marriage exists depends upon the mutual intent and status of the parties. The following guidelines are used to determine if a common law marriage exits:
- The man and women are free to enter into a marriage contract, neither is married to another person, an both parities are 18 or older.
- The man and the woman mutually agree that their relationship constitutes a marriage.
- The man and woman live in a marital relationship and consistently hold themselves out to the public, socially and legally, as married - such as sharing joint bank accounts, reporting their marital status on income tax returns or putting both names on property titles as husband and wife.
A common law marriage does not require a minimum period of cohabitation. Once established, the partners are entitled to all rights. privileges and responsibilities of a marriage relationship. The relationship mush be terminated by a court-ordered divorce decree.
New law on common law marriage, effective July 18, 2006 (but defines what marriages are impacted by the law within the language of the act).
Summary of the Act: Adds a new statute in Title 14 placing an age restriction on common law marriage. A party can enter into a common law marriage if he or she is 18 at the time the common law marriage is entered into.
Here is the link: http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics2006b/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/779477607A1C00B8872571A2008175C0?Open&file=006_enr.pdf
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Q. Where can I find a list of attorneys that can help with Probate issues?
A. Denver Probate Court maintains a list of various attorneys who specialize in probate matters. The information is not screened or provided by the Court, nor does it imply endorsement or approval of any of the attorneys listed.
Q. What do I do with the will when someone dies?
A. When the original signed will is found, file it within ten days with the probate court in the county where the deceased lived.
15-11-516. Duty of custodian of will; lodging of will after death; transfer of lodged will; liability. (1) Within ten days after a testator's death or as soon thereafter as the death becomes known to the custodian of an instrument purporting to be the testator's will, the custodian shall deliver the will to the court having probate jurisdiction in the Colorado county where the decedent resided or was domiciled at death for lodging in the records of such court. If the decedent was not a Colorado resident or domiciliary, the custodian shall deliver the will to the court having probate jurisdiction where the decedent was a resident or domiciliary at death, if known to the custodian, but if such residence or domicile is not known, to the court having probate jurisdiction in any Colorado county where property of the decedent was located at death. If the domicile, residence, and location of property are unknown to the custodian, or if the court having probate jurisdiction outside of Colorado refuses to accept delivery of the will, the custodian shall deliver the will to the court having probate jurisdiction in the Colorado county where the will was located. Upon being informed of the testator's death, a court holding a deposited will shall lodge the will in its records.
(2) Upon the filing of a petition or application showing appropriate venue to be in another state or in another Colorado county, the court shall order the lodged will transferred to the court having probate jurisdiction in that state or county. Any person who willfully fails to deliver an instrument purporting to be a will is liable to any person aggrieved for the damages that may be sustained by the failure.
(3) Any person who willfully refuses or fails to deliver an instrument purporting to be a will after being ordered by the court in a proceeding brought for the purpose of compelling delivery is subject to penalty for contempt of court.