COLORADO PROBATE REAL ESTATE CHECKLIST
This checklist is provided by Jim Foster, Broker Associate with the Colorado Probate Services at Brokers Guild Real Estate. Jim is a licensed real estate broker in Colorado and is licensed to conduct real estate brokerage business within the guidelines set by the Colorado Real Estate Commission. Jim is not an attorney and recommends that all real estate owners, sellers and buyers consult with Legal and Tax Counsel before signing any documents. We hope you find this checklist tool to be helpful.
____ Step One: Avoid signing any documents relating to a real estate property without consulting with your attorney and accountant first.
____ Next Step: Obtain a Free Title Search (Ownership and Encumbrance Report) to determine what parties are on the Title of the property and what loans are associated with the property, so you can continue to make the mortgage payments. By obtaining a Free Title Search you will receive a complete report via email, outlining all of the parties in title and all loans, liens and/or judgements of record against the property.
____ Next Step: Speak with your attorney and accountant about setting up an estate checking account to pay for expenses incurred, as well as any rental income received relating to each real estate property.
____ Next Step: Secure each property. It is highly recommended that each property either have all locks replaced or be re-keyed by a reputable Locksmith, to ensure that nobody else may have access to the property without your permission. This may not be needed for tenant occupied rental or commercial properties.
____ Next Step: Insurance - Find out if Real Estate and Personal Property in the estate is properly insured. (Some policies don't cover losses associated with unoccupied properties).(Some policies don't cover losses associated with unoccupied properties). Determine what insurance policies are in place, if any, relating to each piece of real estate. Confirm with a licensed insurance agent, that each real estate property is adequately insured.
____ Next Step: Mail Forwarding - Notify the Post Office that all mail needs to be forwarded to the Personal Representative's mailing address, so that all mail is received in a timely manner.
____ Next Step: Obtain a current market value for each real estate property in which the Decedent had full or partial ownership in. This value will be needed to complete the Decedent’s Estate Inventory form.
____ Next Step: Determine if there are any existing mortgages associated with each piece of real estate. This can be done by simply requesting a “Free Ownership and Encumbrance Report” for each property. As the Personal Representative, you are responsible to continue to make the mortgage payments to avoid default and potential foreclosure by the lender. This report will also show if there are any other liens or judgements effecting the property.
____ Next Step: Determine what the status of property taxes are that are associated with each piece of real estate and confirm that any past due taxes are either paid, or not placing the property at risk of a tax lien sale.
____ Next Step: Attempt to locate copies of any leases relating to any tenant occupied rental property to ensure compliance for both the tenants and landlord. Please keep in mind that almost all leases survive the passing of the landlord, or sale of the property, as long as the tenants are not in default under the terms of the lease.
____ Next Step: If residential, commercial or agricultural rental properties are included in the estate, communicate with the tenant’s about how to pay their rent and who to contact in the event they need to speak with the landlord, etc.
____ Next Step: Determine who the utility providers are for each property, if any, such as natural gas or propane, electricity, water and sewer.
____ Next Step: Determine if there are any service providers such as telephone, cable or satellite television, internet, garbage removal, lawn and garden maintenance, snow removal, housecleaning, milk delivery, etc.
____ Next Step: Determine if the property is located within one or more Home Owner Associations and find out if the account is current or if there are past due HOA dues or special assessments. Keep HOA dues current.
____ Next Step: If you reside out of town, determine who is going to be your “Local Point of Contact” to visit the property at your request and have access to a key for locks to check on things or allow contractors to have access to the property in the event you are having some type of work done.
____ Next Step: Obtain a “Property Condition Report” for each property to determine if there are apparent deferred maintenance issues needing your immediate attention and what items, if any that you may want to budget for going forward.
____ Next Step: Winterize the pipes if vacant during cold weather months to avoid pipes freezing and bursting resulting in potential water damage and flooding.
____ Next Step: Determine if you are going to leave the utilities, such as gas, electricity, water, etc. turned on to each real estate property, if vacant.
____ Next Step: Make a list of all Personal Property located inside and outside of each real estate property.
____ Next Step: If you are going to transfer the property to one of the divisees, heirs or beneficiaries to the estate, you will need the assistance of either a licensed Colorado real estate broker or an attorney, or both.
____ Next Step: Determine if you are going to keep, transfer or sell each real estate property.
____ Next Step: If you are going to transfer the property to one of the heirs to the estate, you will need the assistance of either a licensed Colorado real estate broker or an attorney, or both.
____ Next Step: If you determine that you are going to sell one or more of the properties, determine what you are going to do with the personal property located in or on the real estate property.
____ Next Step: Determine the current Fair Market Value of the real estate property by obtaining a “Free Current Fair Market Value Price Opinion” by a licensed real estate broker. This should include 3 different opinions of value in one “side by side” report including a “Discounted As-Is Cash Buyer Value”, a “Fair Market Value” (with minimal repairs needed to pass inspection and appraisal requirements) and a “Fully Renovated Market Value” (with complete remodel), should you elect to make the investment.
____ Next Step: Based on your attorney’s advice, you can probably distribute personal property to heirs based on the decedent’s will, once they give you the go ahead. There will most likely be additional personal property that was not specifically bequeathed in the will, yet still has some value to the estate.
____ Next Step: If you are considering an Estate Sale, consult with one or more estate sale companies about how to go about an estate sale. The two main types of estate salea are either an on-site sale or an off-site sale.
____ Next Step: Once you have determined whether to hire a professional estate sale company or hold a do it yourself garage or estate sale, determine your pricing strategy, timing and strategy for the desired sale.
____ Next Step: Once the personal property has been distributed to heirs, friends and family and the estate sale or garage sale process is complete, there will most likely be additional items left over that nobody wanted. At this time you can determine what to do with these items. Options include donating usable items to charity, having a debris hauling company haul off remaining items to a landfill or including them in the sale of the real estate property and letting the buyer either keep them or decide what to do with those items after closing. Please keep in mind that many buyers will discount the purchase price by a dollar amount needed to have those items hauled away.
____ Next Step: Once the property is cleaned out or if it is a tenant occupied property and you have elected to sell the property, have a licensed real estate broker walk through the property to make recommendations regarding needed repairs, optional remodeling and optional staging.
____ Next Step: Once all work you have selected to be done is complete, place the property on the market through our recommended 5 day initial bid period strategy to ensure the maximum number of buyers touring the home in the first 5 days on the market and giving you the best chance at receiving one or more offers and possibly a bidding war, resulting in the highest and best net price for the estate.
____ Next Step: Have your attorney and accountant review the buyer’s offer you feel is the best, for any legal changes they want you to make before signing and accepting or countering the offer.
____ Next Step: Once under contract to sell the property to a proposed buyer, Jim Foster and his team will assist you throughout the entire process and closing of the each property.
____ Next Step: Comply with all of the terms of the Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate.
____ Next Step: Provide the title company with certified copies of the Death Certificate along with Letters Testamentary or Letters of Appointment authorizing you to sign as Personal Representative for the Decedent’s Estate relating to the sale of this property.
____ Next Step: In almost all cases involving probate, title to estate owned real estate will be transferred by a Personal Representative’s deed. Title companies are not permitted to draft these type of deeds and require that an attorney prepare the Personal Representative’s deed on behalf of the seller. Jim Foster and his team will coordinate this process between the title company and the attorney selected by the seller to prepare the deed.
____ Next Step: Almost all title companies will require that the seller’s attorney or accountant prepare a Federal Tax Liability Letter prior to closing stating whether or not it is anticipated that the estate will owe any tax associated with the sale of the property. In some cases, the title company may be legally bound to withhold certain funds from the seller’s proceeds to be distributed directly to the Internal Revenue Service. Please consult with your legal and tax counsel for advice and recommendations.
____ Next Step: Jim will provide you with copies of all proposed Closing Documents in advance of Closing for you to review and you can also review copies of all documents with your attorney and tax counsel prior to Closing. Your legal and tax counsel are not required to attend closing.
____ Next Step: Attend closing and sign all necessary documents. In the event you cannot attend the closing in person, Jim and his team can arrange for a mail-out closing with a mobile closer or for you to appoint someone to sign on your behalf as a Property Specific Power of Attorney. Ask Jim about the possibility of curbside closings and in some cases when online signing of closing documents is allowed.
____ Next Step: Upon the completion of the closing the title company will disburse the Net Proceeds via wire transfer to the Estate checking account or Certified Check payable to the Estate.
____ Next Step: Receive a packet or electronic file of all documents associated with the successful sale of the property, from Jim Foster for your records. Jim is always available if you have questions after closing.
If Real Estate is part of the Decedent's assets, it is important to find out exactly what parties are on the Title of the property and what loans are associated with the property, so you can continue to make the mortgage payments. By obtaining a Free Title Search you will receive a complete report via email, outlining all of the parties on title and all loans, liens and/or judgements of record against the property. This free title search is commonly known as an Ownership & Encumbrance Report.
Don't Take On Probate Alone...
Welcome to Colorado Probate Services! We are here to help make your job easier and have assembled a team over the last 25+ years designed to allow you easy access to all of the resources needed to successfully and easily navigate the probate process in Colorado.
What our team can help take off your plate...
Estate sale resources (on-site or off-site)
Household liquidation & full or partial buy-outs
Property clean-outs, hauling & roll-off dumpsters
Property maintenance & repair contractors
Hazardous materials clean-up
Vacant property insurance coverage solutions
Mobile locksmiths to secure the property
Free Ownership & Encumbrance Title Report
Free Property Market Value Analysis (CMA)
Professional real estate marketing services
Expertise in probate real estate transactions
Local point of contact for out of town PR’s
We provide a free customized checklist for you
Helping families and attorneys for over 25 years
Our goal is to help make the Colorado Probate process as simple and stress free as possible for Personal Representatives and families who are dealing with the probate process in Colorado. We look forward to the opportunity to speak with you personally to discuss your situation and provide you with all of the options available to you!
The Personal Representative...
As a Personal Representative, you have been selected to be the person responsible for overseeing the assets left in the estate of a friend or loved one, liquidating all or part of those assets, taking responsibility for seeing that creditors are paid out of the estate and overseeing the distribution of the proceeds of the estate between all of the heirs.
It is indeed a great honor to be named as the Personal Representative for a friend or loved one’s estate going through probate in Colorado, but along with this honor, comes a great deal of hard work as well as legal and financial responsibility. It can be a long, difficult and thankless job.
Many estates include tons of personal property, including clothing, furniture, tools, antiques, art, jewelry, firearms, pets & more. Many estates also include a residence and often times, investment or commercial real estate, farm and ranch land and on occasion separate water and mineral rights.
There may be financial assets, such as bank, investment and retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, annuities, life insurance, precious metals, other collectables and more to deal with during the Colorado probate process.
There may also be creditors who are owed money from the estate. Items like mortgage payments, property taxes, water bills & HOA dues still have to be paid, which, if ignored could result in foreclosure of a property. It can be overwhelming. We’re here to help if you are required to file probate in Colorado.
The probate process in Colorado addresses all of these various items and as the Personal Representative, you have a fiduciary responsibility to see that the estate is administered properly.
Let's Determine What Your Needs Are...
Helping you is our number one priority! We’ll begin by asking you what you want to accomplish with regard to all of the personal property and real property in the estate. We’ll go over a thorough questionnaire & checklist relating to all of the property and the obligations associated with the property.
We will listen intently to what you have to say, so that we can provide fact based solutions & options for you to consider. Each estate is unique depending on the type of assets involved, the creditors, if any and the number of heirs involved. You’re loved one obviously worked long and hard to build up the assets within the estate that you are now responsible for and we take that responsibility very seriously.
We have designed a comprehensive, al-a-cart system to help Personal Representatives focus on what to do with all aspects of the probate process in Colorado from personal property to real property. By working together, we’re confident we can help make the Colorado probate process as stress free on you and the other members of your family, as humanly possible. We look forward to being of service to you and your family!
Please call Jim Foster 303-229-5347 or Contact Us and tell us about your situation and we will provide you with a Free customized Colorado Probate Checklist and answer any questions that you have. We look forward to hearing from you!