We have all heard that the secret to someone’s heart is great food; well, in our professional realm, I venture to say that the secret to the probate clerk’s heart is a properly done filing. In order to determine exactly what that means, I surveyed some of the Colorado probate registrars. The following are tips from their feedback along with those that I have discovered here at our practice at Holland & Hart LLP:
- Scan and upload EACH document separately and label each of them clearly. Exhibits should not be attached to the petition or motion, but each should instead be loaded separately. You should provide a detailed description of each document (e.g. rather than “Exhibit 1”, title the document “Exhibit 1 to the Petition to Approve Accounting: June 2015 Statement for ABC Bank Account”). Codicils should be uploaded as separate documents from the Will and should be identified accordingly (e.g. “First Codicil to the Will dated May 1, 2015”). I received differing requests as to whether to use Event Code Will or Filing Other for Codicils, however, I understand that an Event Code of “Codicil” has been requested for future ICCES releases.
- Reduce File Size for Large Documents. If you have a number of significantly large exhibits, utilize the features in Adobe to create smaller file sizes in order not to exceed the ICCES maximums for either document size (3MB) or total upload (50MB). My personal favorite recent discovery is to open your document in Adobe, click on Print and select Adobe PDF as your Printer. Just under the Properties button in your Print Box is a small click-box for print in grayscale (black and white). If your original document contains color images or was just scanned in color as a default, you will be amazed at how much smaller the file size of your “new” document is.
- Demographic Information. Please be as complete as possible and enter the name, addresses, phone number(s), e-mail address for applicant/petitioner, and the name address, phone number, date of birth, and gender for respondents, date and pages of Will, etc. All this information is required for the Court’s computer system to function effectively. Therefore, if you do not enter the information, the Registrar has to do so, and the time they expend doing so is time they cannot utilize reviewing your case and issuing Letters.
- Requesting Certified Letters. If you are requesting certified copies of your Letters (for decedent estates or protective proceedings) at the time of your initial filing, the Registrars that I spoke with would prefer to receive that request in the “Note to Clerk” field. If you require additional certified copies during the administration or have a special request, you will then have to file your request in a separate letter or memo. Note that the Court does not have access to any “Note to Clerk” field once the filing has been accepted, therefore, those notes are not part of the history of the case.
In addition, please note that ICCES has released their updated Pricing Model effective as of 5/31/2015 which includes, among other things, increased postage costs due to new postal service rates. The announcement can be found on the ICCES home screen, or by clicking here.
It is really just simple math – the easier we make it for the Probate Registrar or Clerk to review our documents, the faster they will be able to process them and issue the Letters, or other relief requested. I hope that you found this helpful. Happy Filing!