Q: What requirements apply in CO to notify/escrow money to a benef/sib who has left the state/country, & is out of touch?
I am executor of my mom's will/trust. One of two siblings has left the state and possibly the country, and there is no communication on his part, despite our family's efforts. What must I do to satisfy Colorado's requirements to notify him and escrow inheritance? How long must I wait to hear from him?
As a general rule in Colorado, C.R.S. § 15-12-705 sets the expectations for notifying a beneficiary or likely heir to an estate. The code states, in part, "the information shall be delivered or sent by ordinary mail to each of the heirs and devisees whose address is reasonably available to the personal representative. The duty does not extend to require information to persons who have been adjudicated in a prior formal testacy proceeding to have no interest in the estate."
The general implication of this code section is that a serious but reasonable effort must be made to find a working address for each person deserving notice. The legislative footnotes go farther and state the personal representative should "give notice to persons who appear to be disinherited."
The rights of a person who does not respond to a serious but reasonable effort to send notice still exist for three years under C.R.S. § 15-12-108, and may exist longer in some situations.
A Colorado probate attorney can help. A special decision from the courts may be needed in some situations like yours. This is not advice specific to your situation, but a general reply based on your question.
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