Colorado Revised Statute 15-11-101 directs who inherits your property if you die WITHOUT A Will (INTESTATE).
Effective for Persons (Decedents) Dying On Or After July 1, 2010
This refers to relatives who are alive (surviving) at the time of the decedent's death. "Descendants" are direct descendants, children, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren, etc. Survive Means to have survived the decedent by 120 hour.
Share of spouse is equal to the following: [If there is no surviving spouse, skip this section].
Balance of Amounts Not Distributed To Surviving Spouse
If there is no surviving spouse, then 100% as follows [if there is a surviving spouse, then the amount that does not go to spouse as, described above, is distributed as follows]:
Colorado inheritance laws were substantially modified effective July 1, 1995. Since then there have been several changes so that the distribution rules depend upon the date of death. Most amounts have also been indexed for inflation.
Other Colorado Law Effecting Inheritance Rules
To What Property Do The Rules of Inheritance Apply ?
The inheritance rules apply only to "probate" property which is "inherited." One "inherits", that is takes property as an heir in a technical sense, when there is no Will or a Will is not effective, of not fully effective, for some reason.
"Probate" property is property which the decedent owned in his or her own name. It does not include: (i) "joint tenancy" property such as real property, bank accounts with P.O.D., vehicles and accounts titled JTWROS; (ii) "contract rights" under accounts which designate a beneficiary such as brokerage/mutual funds, IRA/SEP's, 401K's, annuities, life insurance or other death benefits payable to specific persons; or, (iii) property held in trust. These kinds of "non-probate" property may become "probate" property, if the descendant's estate is named as the beneficiary, if no beneficiary is named, or the named beneficiaries or joint tenants do not survive.
Qualifications and Exceptions To General Rules
Allowances and claims are paid before inheritances.
The exempt property allowance gives $30,000.00 (2012) to the spouse [if none, then to children under 21 or dependent]. The family allowance of $30,000.00 (2012) [$30,00.00 is the norm, can be a greater "reasonable" amount] is shared between the spouse and children. The family allowance has priority over the exempt property allowance. Allowances are on top of amounts by Will, by intestacy or from the elective share. Only administration costs and "burial" expenses are paid before the allowances.
Claims are paid in the following order: administration costs, "burial" expenses, debts and taxes with federal preference, expenses of last illness, debts and taxes with Colorado preference, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing CHCPF (medicaid recovery), then all other claims. Each category is paid in full, before proceeding to the next category.
What Other Rules Help Determine Who Gets What ?
Designated Beneficiary Agreement law provides that if prepared AND RECORDED then the designated person may take 100% of the estate if the decedent had no descendants, but only 50% or the estate if descendant(s).
Anti-Lapse rule provides that a child usually takes the share of a parent who failed to survive. The anti-lapse statute applies to Wills and other governing instruments, but not to insurance or annuity policies or pension, profit sharing, retirement or similar benefit plans.
120 hour survivorship rule now applies not only to intestacy, but also to governing instruments concerning joint ownership and trusts, [unless those documents contain specific language otherwise]. The 120 hour rule is not applicable to Real Property, or to governing instruments created before July 1, 1995. To succeed to a joint tenancy interest in real property, one need only survive by a fraction of a second. However, if there is no clear and convincing evidence as to who died first, then the simultaneous death statute applies.
The simultaneous death statute explains how, when there is no clear and convincing evidence of the order of death, different kinds of property are to be divided. There are different provisions for real property, beneficiaries, community property, and life and accident insurance. The simultaneous death statute does not apply to Wills, Living Trusts, Insurance Contracts, or any agreement which contains its own rules regarding presumptions of survivorship. If two or more people own real property in joint tenancy, application of the simultaneous death statute will treat them as if they were co-tenants, and their respective interests in the real property will not go to the other joint tenant or tenants, but instead will be distributed by Will, or if no Will, by Colorado's Inheritance Rules [If the real property is located in Colorado, if not, then by the law of that State or Country].
The elective share of the augmented estate prevents a surviving spouse from being disinherited. The augmented estate is the amount necessary to result in the surviving spouse ending up with up to one half of the combination of the deceased spouse's estate and the survivor's estate. This amount begins at five percent and increases by five (5%) percent for each year of marriage to a maximum of one half during the 10th year of marriage (after the ninth anniversary). Life insurance and certain other insurance like instruments are not included.
Other Laws may apply to a particular situation. These rules are for Colorado only. In certain cases, Federal law including ERISA may apply. Under certain circumstances, the laws of other states or other countries may apply. There are many tax laws that may apply.
THIS IS A SUMMARIZED STATEMENT OF GENERAL RULES. SEE YOUR ATTORNEY IF YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR QUESTION OR ISSUE.
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|All Material © 1998 Larry A. Henning|