1. In Colombia, the Probate procedure can be processed using two different authorities: the Family Courts or the Public Notaries.

2. The country is divided, in court jurisdictions, in the case of the Family Courts and in Notarial Circles, in the case of Public Notaries. The jurisdiction or the circles usually correspond to the administrative areas the country is divided, i.e. Departments, cities, and municipalities. In some areas of the country, the jurisdiction of the notaries can comprehend several municipalities. This depends on the population of the different places.

3. The probate process is initiated in the county of the decedent´s legal residence at the time of death, and it can be initiated by anyone of the Public Notaries with jurisdiction over said county, only if and when, all the heirs, legatees, successors, surviving spouse, and assignees are fully capable and competent, they are in agreement and have designated a sole registered and titled attorney.

Some things about the documents

4. The probate petition must be personally presented to by the attorney or the petitioners (interested parties), being the case, with the Public Notary of the Circle corresponding to the last domicile (legal residence) of the deceased in the national territory or if he had several, the one corresponding to the principal place of business.

5. The petitioners can file the probate petition only for minimal value estates.

6. The probate petition must contain the following information: name and neighborhood of the petitioners, interest in which they act, i.e. Heirs, legatees, successors, assignees or surviving spouse. Name and last domicile of the decedent, and in the case of heirs, a statement stating if, they accept pure and simply or with the benefit of inventory. Supporting documents evidencing the relationship to the decedent, i.e. Marriage certificates, birth certificates, will, assigned contracts, and other applicable documents.

Equal or better interest

7. Furthermore, the attorney or the petitioners must under oath, which is implied with the filing of the petition, state that they do not know of any other interested party with equal or better interest in the estate and that they have no knowledge of legatees or creditors different from those included in the Assets and Debts Inventory, attached to the petition. If from the attached documents, it can be seen that the decedent was married; the petition must be filed jointly by the wife or husband, unless it is proven that he or she is deceased or the marriage was dissolved.

8. The of hiding heirs, spouse, legatees, assignees, assets, creditors, or the will, or including nonexistent debts, makes whoever is responsible liable to indemnify, who was affected, without prejudice of other sanctions established, i.e. Penal ones.

9. If the petition and attached documents comply with the law, the Public Notary will accept it by Act and will summon the possible interested parties with rights over the estate, by a Public Notice published in a newspaper with national circulation, and a public address is done by a radio station, also the Public Notice must be exhibited in a visible place of the Notarial Office for ten (10) days.

10. The National Tax and Customs Authority (DIAN) will also be summoned to concur to the proceedings.

11. After the ten (10) days period has passed and the tax authorities have accepted the partition of assets, the Public Notary, will authorize the execution of a Public Deed containing the complete distribution and transfer of assets is solemnized and perfected.

12. The Public Deed, number, and date, according to the log that the Public Notary manages must be registered, if necessary with the Register Office of Public and Private Documents and/or the Vehicles’ Municipal Register Office.

13. The legal act by which real estate is transferred must be registered with Register Office of Public and Private Documents to be final, effective and opposable to third parties.

14. The legal act by which vehicles are transferred must be registered with Vehicles’ Municipal Register Office to be final, effective and opposable to third parties.

15. In Colombia, only one Probate Procedure is required to transfer all properties from a decedent, even if the properties are located in different jurisdictions.