Q: According to Colorado intestacy laws, Is an adopted child still qualified as a beneficiary, if they were emancipated?
An adopted child is considered the same as a biological child for inheritance from a parent with no valid will. Look at Colorado Revised Statute § 15-11-103 for a list of heirs of a deceased person with no surviving spouse and no will to designate a beneficiary. A deceased person's wealth and possessions will transfer to the "descendants" if there is no spouse or will to name another taker.
It is a little tricky, but "descendant" is defined in Colorado Revised Statute § 15-10-201 as "all of the individual's lineal descendants of all generations, with the relationship of parent and child at each generation being determined by the definitions of child and parent contained in this code." That only makes sense when you also look in the same section and see that "child" means "an individual entitled to take [inheritance] as a child under this code by intestate succession from the parent [except for] a stepchild, a foster child, a grandchild, or any more remote descendant."
Taken as a whole, adopted children are simply "children" in the inheritance laws. A child is a "descendant" in the list of priorities of people inheriting from a deceased person, and without a will, a child has higher priority than anyone but a surviving spouse.
So, as long as the deceased person has no surviving spouse, all children, including adopted children, stand to inherit something from a parent with no will. The emancipation process does not change anything because emancipation does not remove the parent-child relationship. Emancipation simply adjusts the age of adulthood on a case-by-case basis.
I'm sorry to hear that you may be facing sad times in your family and may need help asserting your rights as an heir. Contact an estate planning or probate attorney for more help. The answer provided above is a general or academic explanation and is not legal advice for your specific situation.
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