Understanding Colorado Intestacy Laws

If somebody dies without making a will, their estate will be distributed according to state intestacy laws - but what exactly do those laws look like in Colorado? In today's blog, we answer that question so you can find the best path forward in a case involving intestacy and estate administration.

Contact our office online or via phone at (303) 647-4245 to schedule a free consultation with our estate planning attorneys.

Do All Assets Go Through Intestate Succession?

Many people assume that all assets a person owns will be distributed via intestate succession if that person dies without a will, but that's not always the case.

Property the person who died (the decedent) put into a living trust, for example, will be distributed via the terms of the trust. Additionally, assets that the decedent did not entirely own in their name only - just as jointly owned property, funds in retirement accounts and 401(k)s, and life insurance proceeds - are usually not handled via intestate succession.

These kinds of assets all require the decedent to name a co-owner or recipient should they pass, so they'll immediately go toward those individuals (assuming no assets from the estate need to be claimed by creditors to repay debts the decedent held pre-death).

Who Gets Assets Via Intestate Succession in CO?

If the decedent had children but no spouse, their children would inherit everything. Vice versa, the spouse will inherit everything - this is also the case if they shared children with their spouse and their spouse had no children separate from the marriage.

If the decedent had children, a spouse, and that spouse had children from another relationship, the spouse inherits the first $225,000 worth of intestate property. The decedent's children inherit the rest.

If the decedent had a spouse, children, and children from outside the marriage, the spouse inherits the first $150,000 of assets, and the children inherit everything else.

In cases where the decedent had parents or siblings but no spouse or children, their parents or siblings (or both) inherit the estate. If the decedent had a spouse and parents, the spouse gets the first $300,000 of the estate.

Hopefully, this information has answered any questions you have concerning intestate succession in Colorado. For help with your estate planning case, contact us online or via phone at (303) 647-4245.