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Colorado Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado on
Q: My sister is trying to remove my name from a death certificate so she can deal with finances without permission?
John Hyland Barrett III
John Hyland Barrett III answered on Apr 15, 2021

I'm not sure what difference the death certificate makes. In Colorado, the Personal Representative controls disposition of the decedent's assets. The Personal Representative is appointed by the probate court. It usually is whomever is named as PR by the will. If no will, then the PR is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: Was my brother allowed to cremate with out consent of siblings to cremate our father?
Sabra M. Janko
Sabra M. Janko answered on Mar 20, 2021

If he was the personal representative of the will, he could. Particularly if your father indicated that cremation was his wish.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: How to transfer a DECEASED spouses truck title to surviving spouse?

She died with no will but estate is settled. Didnt need to go through probate EVERYTHING done. Just need her loveland colorado SUV title put into husbands name so he can register it in whyoming where he now lives. How does he do this .? My friend is not technicality savey on the internet so I am... Read more »

Sabra M. Janko
Sabra M. Janko answered on Mar 5, 2021

The personal representative should be able to handle a title transfer for the person who inherited the vehicle.

1 Answer | Asked in Child Support, Family Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado on
Q: Ex went missing in Gulf in 2019. No death certificate issued but my child support/alimony was closed by Montrose. Legal?

I have a child that was 17 at the time of her dad went missing. I was receiving child support and alimony. D's body wasn't recovered and no death certificate was issued by FL (state of accident). Montrose County filed for support of evidence that he was deceased but bec it took place in... Read more »

Sabra M. Janko
Sabra M. Janko answered on Mar 4, 2021

I am sorry to hear about the situation. You could talk to a caseworker who could explain the reason. Often people will have life insurance to insure support or you might be able to make a claim against the estate if probate is a possibility.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado on
Q: In CO, 2x ERISA plans worth $200k w/ beneficiary as 15 yrs removed ex-wife (no children of marriage) but 93 yo mom alive

We are in Colorado - but federal law might determine the answer to this question. There is an 93-year old mother of recently deceased son (no children) who is not the named beneficiary of two of her son's ERISA plans. Rather the nasty ex-wife 15 years removed still is the beneficiary named... Read more »

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jan 24, 2021

I am not a Colorado attorney and you ultimately must get with a Colorado estates/tax attorney to get a definitive answer. I can only tell you that in PA this surviving spouse would NOT be allowed to take as beneficiary since she is divorced from the deceased husband.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Criminal Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado on
Q: Hello, is there anything I can do for an estate that was stolen by false signatures.

Mother may have left money to me but stepfather is keeping it or stole or the same with my little brother

Sabra M. Janko
Sabra M. Janko answered on Jan 17, 2021

If you can establish fraud, then you may have recourse. You can report this to the police as financial fraud is a crime. You could also hire a criminal attorney who could have a private investigator look into the matter.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Colorado on
Q: My parents are living in their own home and are both listed as owners. Do you recommend a trust? I am their son.

They refuse to draw up a will. I want to do everything possible to insure that their home and assets are protected from the government.

They are 88 & 91.

Timothy Canty
Timothy Canty answered on Jan 6, 2021

There many ways to do this including a trust. The simplest and cheapest way is to have them execute and record a beneficiary deed to their heirs. The heirs would have no present interest in the property, but upon the death of the last one, the home would pass to the heirs by operation of law and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: I own my home and property, paid for. my boyfriend lives withme but we are not husband and wife, have no accounts togeth

Is there a way tolet him live here after I pas without putting property in his name

Sean Maye
Sean Maye answered on Nov 11, 2020

If you were legal husband and wife, your assets (including this and any other real or personal property) would automatically pass to him - unless there were any other unforeseen reasons or legal complications that would frustrate that.

Absent any legal martial status, you would need to set...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: Is there a statute of Limitations re an inheritance claim in NM? My father died in 2017.

I don't know if he had a valid will @ the time of his death. I am the only surviving child. Since his re-marriage, we've been estranged.

Sabra M. Janko
Sabra M. Janko answered on Jul 25, 2020

You will want to post this in the NM forum. State law governs estate issues.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Employment Law, Estate Planning and Family Law for Colorado on
Q: If I have to take a lower paying job to be close to my children will the court see this as under-employment?

My ex insists on living in a rural community where there are zero job opportunities for my career. To continue to work in my career I have to live in NYC. My children are suffering in bad schools full of high-school drop outs, getting into drugs and lots a bad stuff. I need to be with them and... Read more »

Sabra M. Janko
Sabra M. Janko answered on Jul 16, 2020

This is something that is within the discretion of a Judge so will depend on the evidentiary presentation.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Colorado on
Q: If I am considered disabled and I inherit a house worth $350,000 can a very old child support case put a lien on it?

Also, because of my disability child support has not pursued me for quite some time now

Sabra M. Janko
Sabra M. Janko answered on Jul 8, 2020

A child support lien can be placed on a real property asset regardless of the age of the support case.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: If I have no cattle do I have to have my gate shut I live off i25 and my neighbor does have cattle
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on May 15, 2020

You don't HAVE to close your gate if you don't mind the neighbors' cattle grazing on your land. Colorado is an open range state. More information about open range here:

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/agbrands/open-range-and-fencing

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Family Law for Colorado on
Q: Does the revocation-on-divorce statute still apply if the divorce decree was set aside?

The district court granted the motion to set aside the court order of dissolution of marriage. The divorce got reopened based on the Rule 16 (fraud). I was named as a beneficiary of the life insurance policy; however, the life insurance policy was not disclosed during the divorce. Does the... Read more »

John Hyland Barrett III
John Hyland Barrett III answered on May 12, 2020

I am assuming that the court set aside the property orders, but not the decree of dissolution of marriage. You are probably still divorced. In that case the revocation upon divorce statute may apply if the insured dies. You could ask the court to have you named you as beneficiary if appropriate You... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: In my now-deceased sister’s Trust, within the “Durable Power of Attorney for Management of Property and Personal Affairs

what does “Pursuant to 4000 et. seq. Of the California Probate Code mean? (She lived and died in CA. I live in CO.)

Sabra M. Janko
Sabra M. Janko answered on May 7, 2020

You will want to receive an opinion from a California attorney if the trust is in California, however a trust has a Trustee and the trustee is the person authorized to administer the trust according to the terms specified by the Grantor.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado on
Q: Is it mandatory to go to probate after the death of my mother? I am located in Colorado.
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 20, 2020

It is impossible to answer that question without a detailed inventory of what your mother owned when she died and how each item was titled.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: If a will leaves houses to 3 people are all three responsible for mortgage payments until will is disbursed?

It is occupied by a beneficiary who pays utilities, lot fee and was making mortgage payments until unable.

Diedre Wachbrit Braverman
Diedre Wachbrit Braverman answered on Mar 31, 2020

The mortgage is only due from the person named on the mortgage. However, if they want to avoid foreclosure the beneficiaries would be smart to keep paying the mortgage.

When the property is distributed to them, they will have to either pay it off or get a new mortgage in their names....
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado on
Q: Is my wife automatically the beneficiary of my 401k and IRAs, regardless of my beneficiary designations?

I am married and live in Colorado. Is my wife automatically the beneficiary of 100% of my 401k, my multiple IRA's, and regular savings accounts, regardless of who I have specifically designated as the beneficiaries on those accounts? I've read conflicting information online regarding... Read more »

Diedre Wachbrit Braverman
Diedre Wachbrit Braverman answered on Mar 31, 2020

In Colorado, a spouse in entitled to up to 50% of your estate depending on how long you’ve been married. They reach 50% at 10 years. If you designate someone else it can cause expensive court proceedings as your spouse seeks the share to which they are entitled. You could designate your spouse as... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: Is a Revocable Trust considered abandoned if it hasn't been used in years?

My mom passed away and her will states that her estate be gifted to a 2004 Revocable Trust that references California law. My mom sold her California property in 2005 when she moved to Colorado that same year. She just passed away in Colorado and none of her property here was in the name of the... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Mar 4, 2020

No, not at all. That is called a pour over will. The will needs to be probated. Pursuant to the will, the probate court will order that all of the assets in her estate be transferred into the name of the trust. Then the trust needs to be administered according to its terms. You need a probate... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado on
Q: A check for unclaimed funds made payable to me on behalf of heirs of my dad. Am I able to deposit this in my own acct?

Hi, my father passed away about 16 years ago. I visited https://colorado.findyourunclaimedproperty.com/ to search for unclaimed assets, and I found some in his name. He did not leave a will, and there wasn't an obituary. I was executor and sole heir of his estate because I am his only child. I... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 22, 2020

Yes, the state made the check payable that way to impress upon you the obligation to share the funds with your dad's other theoretical heirs, but as there are none, you can safely deposit the funds in your bank account and you need not worry about having to share it with other heirs.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado on
Q: Post death, if secured asset is returned but FMV is below debt, does it get paid off before unsecured credit card debt?

In estate after a death, do secured assets that go to auction but fail to raise funds to pay off balance get paid off before unsecured debt or should they be treated equally? Credit cards are clamoring for money, but so is company that financed deceased loved ones camp trailer for delta between... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 21, 2020

That delta is referred to as a “deficiency” and it is an unsecured debt with the same priority as other unsecured debts such as credit cards.

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