Englewood, CO asked in Probate for Colorado

Q: How can I retrieve my deceased mother's bank account balance to split between my sister and I?

My mother passed back in February. I was her caretaker and she assumed that meant I'd be given whatever was left over in her bank. Everything happened so fast, we weren't prepared for her death at all. None of us were thinking about money once we knew she would pass. There's a little over $700 left in there and I'm wondering if there's a way to access it so it's not just sitting there, as I know my mom wanted to split anything she had between me and my sister. I cant find any clear answers on what steps I have to take.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin Michael Strait
Kevin Michael Strait
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Fort Collins, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: I'm so sorry to hear that your mother passed away. But there is a fairly simple path forward for her estate and her possessions to be distributed to family and friends. People that pass away in Colorado either do or don't have a Will that controls their estate after death. If you mother had a Will, even an old one from a earlier time in life, you submit that Will along with a death certificate to the county court system where your mother lived in Colorado. There is also an information page that you complete and submit at the same time. The court clerk can help you find the right information sheet.

If your mother died without a Will of any kind, the process is similar. You will submit a death certificate to the court clerk but also submit a form stating that you are a relative of your mother, that she dies without a will, and that you wish to be her Personal Representative.

In either case (Will or no Will), one of the first hurdles in the process is to identify and approve a Personal Representative for your mother's possessions. The Personal Representative ("PR") will be given special recognition by the county court to settle your mother's estate. The permission from the court is called "letters testamentary" and allows the PR to work with the banks, hospitals, realtors, lenders, car dealerships, tax authorities, and all the other institutions that have business with your mother's estate. The PR can access the bank accounts of the deceased person and can distribute the person's cash. The distribution must be in accordance with your mother's Will or, if no Will was left, the distributions must be in accordance with state law on inheritance.

If you are willing to tackle this challenge, start with a visit to the Colorado court resource page at https://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/SubCategory.cfm?Category=Trusts,

Then plan a visit to the courthouse in your mothers' home county. If you'd like an attorney's help, many fine law firms would be happy to walk you through this process. Just search for "probate attorney near me" and you should find plenty of help.

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