On March 11, 2016

Answers about CO Intestacy

Answers about CO Intestacy

Intestate succession refers to the body of laws that comes into play when someone passes away without leaving behind a will. To clarify the impacts of intestate laws and what to expect from the intestacy process in Colorado, below, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about Colorado intestacy.

Colorado Intestacy FAQs

Q – Will all property be affected by Colorado intestacy laws?

A – Not necessarily, as it will depend whether a given asset was jointly owned, whether it has a transfer-on-death designation, and whether it is held by a trust. Specifically, the types of assets that will not typically be impacted by intestacy can include:

  • Bank and retirement account holdings (if they have payable-upon-death designations)
  • Life insurance benefits
  • Jointly owned homes and/or real estate.

Any assets without a specific beneficiary designation – such as personal property, business interests, bonds, etc. – will typically be impacted by Colorado intestacy laws when no will has been left behind.

Q – How to intestacy laws in Colorado prioritize inheritance rights?

A – Generally, a surviving spouse and the child(ren) are priorities for inheritance under Colorado intestacy laws. It’s important to note, however, that whether the children are biological, step-children, foster children or children from former marriages can impact whether the children have a higher (or lower) priority for inheritance over a surviving spouse.

Parents and siblings are usually second priority for inheritance when there may not be a surviving spouse and/or children to act as beneficiaries.

Just how the laws distributed the assets of an estate, however, will hinge on who specifically has survived the decedent.

Q – What is the survivorship period according to Colorado intestacy laws?

A – 120 hours. In other words, in order to qualify to inherit any asset under Colorado intestacy laws, you have to get through the survivorship period, meaning that you have to outlive the decedent by at least 120 hours. This element can be important when, for instance, spouses may be involved in the same accident or disaster.

Q – Do I need to retain a lawyer if my loved one passed away without leaving behind a will?

A – Retaining an attorney after a loved one has passed away can be pivotal to:

  • Locating and administering a will and/or estate plan (if either of these exist)
  • Protecting your rights and interests if Colorado intestacy laws come into play
  • Efficiently settling the estate.

So, if you are serious about getting through probate and the estate settlement process as favorably and efficiently as possible, yes, you should hire an attorney to represent you and guide you through the process.

Contact a Denver Estate Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

For experienced help developing or administering an estate plan, you can turn to the Denver estate attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC. We provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ estate planning, elder law and other legal needs, and we take pride in helping each of our clients and their families find the best solutions for them.

Let’s discuss your options during an initial consultation. To schedule this meeting, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Estate Planning, Inheritances, Probate