Skip to main content
Home Self Help Open an Estate
Home Self Help Open an Estate
Open an Estate
These standard instructions are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice about your case. If you choose to represent yourself, you are bound by the same rules and procedures as an attorney.

  • Forms for an Estate WITH a Will
    • Forms for an Estate with a Will
      • Instructions

        JDF 906 - Instructions for Probate with a Will

         

        Forms

        JDF 711 - Notice of Hearing Word Form

        JDF 721 - Irrevocable Power of Attorney Word Form

        JDF 910 - Application for Informal Probate of Will and Informal Appointment of Personal Representative Word Form

        JDF 911 - Acceptance of Appointment Word Form

        JDF 912 - Renunciation and/or Nomination of Personal Representative Word Form

        JDF 913 - Order for Informal Probate of Will and Informal Appointment of Personal Representative Word Form

        JDF 915 - Letters Testamentary/of Administration Word Form

        JDF 920 - Petition for Formal Probate of Will and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative Word Form

        JDF 921 - Order Admitting Will to Formal Probate and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative Word Form

        JDF 998 - Instructions for Completing Affidavit for the Collection of Personal Property

        JDF 999 - Collection of Personal Property by Affidavit Word Form

         

         

  • Forms for an Estate WITHOUT a Will
  • How do I open an estate when there is a will?
    • 1. Determine whether you need to go to court to open an estate.
      • * If the value of the estate is below a certain amount (see JDF 998 Instructions for Completing Affidavit for the Collection of Personal Property for more information), and you do not have to transfer any real estate, you may be able take care of everything without having to file anything with the court.  You can use JDF 999 Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property if you determine that you do not need to go through the court process.  This form does not get filed with the court.

        * Review JDF 998 Instructions for Completing Affidavit for the Collection of Personal Property to see if you qualify to use this process and for instructions on how to fill out JDF 999 Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property.

    • 2. If you need to open an estate, decide which option fits your situation.
      • * When you are ready to open an estate, you can choose to open the estate formally or informally.

        * Opening an estate informally takes less time and paperwork because the court does not review what you are asking for or give approval.  The probate registrar reviews the paperwork and there is no court hearing.  Once you have filed all of the correct paperwork with the court, your case will be accepted without having to give notice to anyone.  However, anyone who has an interest in the estate can come forward later if they disagree with anything you have done.  If you do not think there will be any problems or disagreements, you may want to use this option.

        * Opening an estate formally takes more time and paperwork because the court will review everything you are asking for and give final approval. Everyone who has an interest in the estate will have the chance to come forward with any disagreements before the court gives final approval.  If you think there may be problems or disagreements, you may want to use this option.  Also, if you cannot find the original will and you only have a copy, you will need to use this option.

        * You must decide which option to use. The court cannot make this decision for you.

        * If you are not sure of which option to use, you may want to talk to an attorney.

    • 3. Determine when and where to file your case.
      • * The person who died is referred to as "the Deceased" or the Decedent.

        * You can file your paperwork to open the estate 120 hours (5 days) after the Decedent has died. The court cannot take any action before then.

        * If you are a creditor of the Decedent and you want to file paperwork to open an estate, you must wait at least 45 days.

        * You should file your paperwork to open the estate in the District Court in the county where the Decedent lived. If the Decedent lived in another state, you can file your paperwork in any county in Colorado where they owned property. To find a District Court, click on Courts by County.

        * If you are filing your paperwork in Denver County, you will need to file in the Denver Probate Court.

    • 4. If you decide to open an estate informally, follow these steps.
      • STEP 1: Download and complete your forms

        * Download and complete these forms:
         JDF 910 Application for Informal Probate of Will and Informal Appointment of Personal Representative
         JDF 911 Acceptance of Appointment
         JDF 913 Order for Informal Probate of Will and Informal Appointment of Personal Representative
         JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration
         JDF 721 Irrevocable Power of Attorney (use only if you do not live in Colorado)
         JDF 912 Renunciation and/or Nomination of Personal Representative (anyone who has the same or greater priority to be appointed personal represenative of the estate who is not asking to be appointed must fill out this form.  Also, any person named as personal representative in the will who decides they do not want to be the personal representative must fill out this form as a "renunciation", or the application must state that the person has died).

        * For detailed instructions on how to fill out these forms, see JDF 906 Instructions for Probate with a Will.

         JDF 910 Application for Informal Probate of Will and Informal Appointment of Personal Representative must be signed in front of a Notary Public or court clerk.  You can find a Notary Public by looking in the Yellow Pages, on the internet, or by going to your local bank.

        * Fill out only the top "caption" part of JDF 913 Order for Informal Probate of Will and Informal Appointment of Personal Representative and JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration.  The court will fill out the rest.

        * Check the box that says "Testamentary" at the top of JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration.

        * NOTE:  Make sure you have the original will to give to the court.

         

        STEP 2: File your paperwork with the court

        * After you have filled out all of the paperwork in Step 1 above, take the forms to the clerk at the courthouse.  Give the forms and the original will to the probate registrar to file your case.

        * The court will ask you to pay a filing fee. If you do not think you can afford it, you can request a waiver of the filing fee by completing form JDF 205 Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit, and the caption box of JDF 206 Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees. For more information check out the File Without Payment page.

        * Once the probate registrar decides that all of your paperwork is complete and correct, he/she will name you as the Personal Representative of the estate and give you a signed and certified copy of JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration.  This document proves that you are the person in charge of the estate.

         

        STEP 3:  Complete additional forms after you are named as the Personal Representative of the estate

        * Within 30 days after you are named as the Personal Representative of the estate, you must give people with an interest in the estate (the people you listed in #8 of JDF 910) notice that you have been named, and that you have opened an estate.

        * To give notice, you must fill out JDF 940 Information of Appointment.  You must mail or hand-deliver a copy of this form to the people you listed in #8 of JDF 910.  After you mail or hand-deliver a copy to everyone, fill out the Certificate of Service part of the form and then file it with the court.

        * Within 90 days after you are named as the Personal Representative of the estate, you must do an inventory of all of the money and property of the Decedent by filling out JDF 941 Decedent's Estate Inventory.  You do not need to give this form to the court.  You do not need to give this form to people with an interest in the estate unless they ask for it.  If someone with an interest in the estate asks for your inventory form, you must give it to them.

    • 5. If you decide to open an estate formally, follow these steps.
      • STEP 1: Download and complete your forms

        * Download and complete these forms:
         JDF 920 Petition for Formal Probate of Will and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative
         JDF 911 Acceptance of Appointment
         JDF 711 Notice of Hearing
         JDF 921 Order Admitting Will to Formal Probate and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative
         JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration
         JDF 721 Irrevocable Power of Attorney (use only if you do not live in Colorado)
         JDF 912 Renunciation and/or Nomination of Personal Representative (anyone who has the same or greater priority to be appointed personal represenative of the estate who is not asking to be appointed must fill out this form. Also, any person named as personal representative in the will who decides they do not want to be the personal representative must fill out this form as a renunciation, or the application must state that the person has died).

        * For detailed instructions on how to fill out these forms, see JDF 906 Instructions for Probate with a Will.

         JDF 920 Petition for Formal Probate of Will and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative must be signed in front of a Notary Public or court clerk. You can find a Notary Public by looking in the Yellow Pages, on the internet, or by going to your local bank.

        * Fill out only the top caption part of JDF 921 Order Admitting Will to Formal Probate and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative and JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration. The court will fill out the rest.

        * Check the box that says Testamentary at the top of JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration.

        * NOTE: Make sure you have the original will to give to the court.

         

        STEP 2: File your paperwork with the court

        * After you have filled out all of the paperwork in Step 1 above, take the forms to the probate registrar at the courthouse. Give the forms and the original will to the probate registrar to file your case.

        * The court will ask you to pay a filing fee. If you do not think you can afford it, you can request a waiver of the filing fee by completing form JDF 205 Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit, and the caption box of JDF 206 Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees. For more information check out the File Without Payment page.

         

        STEP 3:  Hearing

        * After you file your paperwork with the court, you will need to contact the court to get a date for a hearing.

        * After you get a hearing date, you must give notice of the hearing date along with JDF 920 Petition for Formal Probate of Will and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative to all persons who have an interest in the estate (the people you listed in #9 on the Petition form).

        * Fill out JDF 711 Notice of Hearing and mail or hand-deliver a copy, along with a copy of JDF 920 Petition for Formal Probate of Will and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative, to all of the people who you listed in #9 of JDF 920.  After you mail or hand-deliver a copy of your forms, fill out the Certificate of Service part of JDF 711 Notice of Hearing and file it with the court.

        * After the hearing, if the judge names you as the Personal Representative of the estate, the judge will sign JDF 921 Order Admitting Will to Formal Probate and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative.  You will also get a signed, certified copy of JDF 915 Letters Testamentary.  This document proves that you are the person in charge of the estate.

         

        STEP 4: Complete additional forms after you are named as the Personal Representative of the estate

        * Within 30 days after you are named as the Personal Representative of the estate, you must give people with an interest in the estate (the people you listed in #9 of JDF 920) notice that you have been named, and that you have opened an estate.

        * To give notice, you must fill out JDF 940 Information of Appointment. You must mail or hand-deliver a copy of this form to the people you listed in #9 of JDF 920. After you mail or hand-deliver a copy to everyone, fill out the Certificate of Service part of the form and then file it with the court.

        * Within 90 days after you are named as the Personal Representative of the estate, you must do an inventory of all of the money and property of the Decedent by filling out JDF 941 Decedent's Estate Inventory. You do not need to give this form to the court. You do not need to give this form to people with an interest in the estate unless they ask for it. If someone with an interest in the estate asks for your inventory form, you must give it to them.

  • How do I open an estate if there is no will?
    • 1. Determine whether you need to go to court to open an estate.
      • * If the value of the estate is below a certain amount (see JDF 998 Instructions for Completing Affidavit for the Collection of Personal Property for more information), and you do not have to transfer any real estate, you may be able take care of everything without having to file anything with the court. You can use JDF 999 Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property if you determine that you do not need to go through the court process. This form does not get filed with the court.

        * Review JDF 998 Instructions for Completing Affidavit for the Collection of Personal Property to see if you qualify to use this process and for instructions on how to fill out JDF 999 Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property.

    • 2. If you need to open an estate, decide which option fits your situation.
      • * When you are ready to open an estate, you can choose to open the estate formally or informally.

        * Opening an estate informally takes less time and paperwork because the court does not review what you are asking for or give approval.  The probate registrar reviews the paperwork and there is no court hearing.  Once you have filed all of the correct paperwork with the court, your case will be accepted without having to give notice to anyone.  However, anyone who has an interest in the estate can come forward later if they disagree with anything you have done.  If you do not think there will be any problems or disagreements, you may want to use this option.

        * Opening an estate formally takes more time and paperwork because the court will review everything you are asking for and give final approval. Everyone who has an interest in the estate will have the chance to come forward with any disagreements before the court gives final approval.  If you think there may be problems or disagreements, you may want to use this option.  Also, if you cannot find the original will and you only have a copy, you will need to use this option.

        * You must decide which option to use. The court cannot make this decision for you.

        * If you are not sure of which option to use, you may want to talk to an attorney.

    • 3. Determine when and where to file your case.
      • * The person who died is referred to as "the Deceased" or the Decedent. 

        * You can file your paperwork to open the estate 120 hours (5 days) after the Decedent has died. The court cannot take any action before then.

        * If you are a creditor of the Decedent and you want to file paperwork to open an estate, you must wait at least 45 days.

        * You should file your paperwork to open the estate in the District Court in the county where the Decedent lived. If the Decedent lived in another state, you can file your paperwork in any county in Colorado where they owned property. To find a District Court, click on Courts by County.

        * If you are filing your paperwork in Denver County, you will need to file in the Denver Probate Court.

         

    • 4. If you decide to open an estate informally, follow these steps.
      • STEP 1: Download and complete your forms

        * Download and complete these forms:
        * JDF 916 Application for Informal Appointment of Personal Representative
        * JDF 911 Acceptance of Appointment
        * JDF 917 Order for Informal Appointment of Personal Representative
        * JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration
        * JDF 721 Irrevocable Power of Attorney (use only if you do not live in Colorado)
        * JDF 912 Renunciation and/or Nomination of Personal Representative (anyone who has the same or greater priority to be appointed personal represenative of the estate who is not asking to be appointed must fill out this form. Also, any person named as personal representative in the will who decides they do not want to be the personal representative must fill out this form as a "renunciation", or the application must state that the person has died).

        * For detailed instructions on how to fill out these forms, see JDF 907 Instructions for Probate without a Will.

        * JDF 916 Application for Informal Appointment of Personal Representative must be signed in front of a Notary Public or court clerk. You can find a Notary Public by looking in the Yellow Pages, on the internet, or by going to your local bank.

        * Fill out only the top "caption" part of JDF 917 Order for Informal Appointment of Personal Representative and JDF 915 Letters of Administration. The court will fill out the rest.

        * Check the box that says "Of Administration" at the top of JDF 915 Letter Testamentary/of Administration.

         

        STEP 2: File your paperwork with the court

        * After you have filled out all of the paperwork in Step 1 above, take the forms to the probate registrar at the courthouse. Give the forms to the probate registrar to file your case.

        * The court will ask you to pay a filing fee. If you do not think you can afford it, you can request a waiver of the filing fee by completing form JDF 205 Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit, and the caption box of JDF 206 Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees. For more information check out the File Without Payment page.

        * Once the probate registrar decides that all of your paperwork is complete and correct, he/she will name you as the Personal Representative of the estate and give you a signed and certified copy of JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration. This document proves that you are the person in charge of the estate.

         

        STEP 3: Complete additional forms after you are named as the Personal Representative of the estate

        * Within 30 days after you are named as the Personal Representative of the estate, you must give people with an interest in the estate (the people you listed in #8 of JDF 916) notice that you have been named, and that you have opened an estate.

        * To give notice, you must fill out JDF 940 Information of Appointment. You must mail or hand-deliver a copy of this form to the people you listed in #8 of JDF 916. After you mail or hand-deliver a copy to everyone, fill out the Certificate of Service part of the form and then file it with the court.

        * Within 90 days after you are named as the Personal Representative of the estate, you must do an inventory of all of the money and property of the Decedent by filling out JDF 941 Decedent's Estate Inventory. You do not need to give this form to the court. You do not need to give this form to people with an interest in the estate unless they ask for it. If someone with an interest in the estate asks for your inventory form, you must give it to them.

    • 5. If you decide to open an estate formally, follow these steps.
      • STEP 1: Download and complete your forms

        * Download and complete these forms:
        * JDF 922 Petition for Adjudication of Intestacy and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative
        * JDF 911 Acceptance of Appointment
        * JDF 711 Notice of Hearing
        * JDF 923 Order of Intestacy, Determination of Heirs and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative
        * JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration
        * JDF 721 Irrevocable Power of Attorney (use only if you do not live in Colorado)
        * JDF 912 Renunciation and/or Nomination of Personal Representative (anyone who has the same or greater priority to be appointed personal represenative of the estate who is not asking to be appointed must fill out this form. Also, any person named as personal representative in the will who decides they do not want to be the personal representative must fill out this form as a "renunciation", or the application must state that the person has died).

        * For detailed instructions on how to fill out these forms, see JDF 907 Instructions for Probate without a Will.

        * JDF 922 Petition for Adjudication of Intestacy and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative must be signed in front of a Notary Public or court clerk. You can find a Notary Public by looking in the Yellow Pages, on the internet, or by going to your local bank.

        * Fill out only the top "caption" part of JDF 923 Order of Intestacy, Determination of Heirs and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative and JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration. The court will fill out the rest.

        * Check the box that says "Of Administration" at the top of JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration.

         

        STEP 2: File your paperwork with the court

        * After you have filled out all of the paperwork in Step 1 above, take the forms to the probate registrar at the courthouse. Give the forms to the probate registrar to file your case.

        * The court will ask you to pay a filing fee. If you do not think you can afford it, you can request a waiver of the filing fee by completing form JDF 205 Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit, and the caption box of JDF 206 Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees.

         

        STEP 3: Hearing

        * After you file your paperwork with the court, you will need to contact the court to get a date for a hearing.

        * After you get a hearing date, you must give notice of the hearing date along with JDF 922 Petition for Adjudication of Intestacy and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative to all persons who have an interest in the estate (the people you listed in #9 on the Petition form).

        * Fill out JDF 711 Notice of Hearing and mail or hand-deliver a copy, along with a copy of JDF 922 Petition for Adjudication of Intestacy and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative, to all of the people who you listed in #9 of JDF 922.  After you mail or hand-deliver a copy of your forms, fill out the Certificate of Service part of JDF 711 Notice of Hearing and file it with the court.

        * After the hearing, if the judge names you as the Personal Representative of the estate, the judge will sign JDF 923 Order of Intestacy, Determination of Heirs and Formal Appointment of Personal Representative. You will also get a signed, certified copy of JDF 915 Letters Testamentary/of Administration. This document proves that you are the person in charge of the estate.

         

        STEP 4: Complete additional forms after you are named as the Personal Representative of the estate

        * Within 30 days after you are named as the Personal Representative of the estate, you must give people with an interest in the estate (the people you listed in #9 of JDF 922) notice that you have been named, and that you have opened an estate.

        * To give notice, you must fill out JDF 940 Information of Appointment. You must mail or hand-deliver a copy of this form to the people you listed in #9 of JDF 922. After you mail or hand-deliver a copy to everyone, fill out the Certificate of Service part of the form and then file it with the court.

        * Within 90 days after you are named as the Personal Representative of the estate, you must do an inventory of all of the money and property of the Decedent by filling out JDF 941 Decedent's Estate Inventory. You do not need to give this form to the court. You do not need to give this form to people with an interest in the estate unless they ask for it. If someone with an interest in the estate asks for your inventory form, you must give it to them.

important announcement contact us   •   interpreters   •   faq   •   photos   •   holidays Menu Important Announcement Home Search Courts Probation Jury Self Help ⁄ Forms Careers Media Administration Contact us Interpreters FAQ Photo Gallery Holiday Schedule