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Colorado Estate Planning Questions & Answers
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....
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1 Answer | 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 this... 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 »

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 had... 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.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: house left in a will to 3 people how does the buy out work

Does the person wanting to keep the house buy out the others with property value or equity in it

Donald C Eby
Donald C Eby answered on Feb 7, 2020

Certainly one co-owner can buyout the other owners, assuming that you can negotiate a purchase price that is acceptable to all.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Tax Law for Colorado on
Q: I had shares in my family farm that has been handed down for 4 generations. My brother bought my shares of the farm.

Do I have to pay taxes on the money I got from my farm inheritance?

D. Mathew Blackburn
D. Mathew Blackburn answered on Jan 24, 2020

You don't pay tax on inherited property. But it sounds as if you inherited the property then sold it which is different.

You would need to determine the basis in the shares when you received them and compare that to the sales price to determine if any gain exists.

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Colorado on
Q: Can a landlord sell the property you're renting, if you have a standing year lease?

This is actually the second time our landlord has done this. We live in a duplex, and our land lord posted it for sell without notifying us. What happens when it sells and changes hands?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 3, 2019

Yes a landlord can sell the property. The buyer must honor your lease.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Colorado on
Q: My mother who is 85 years old is selling her home she has lived in for over 45 years.

it was purchased for $33,000 and is selling for $420,000. In February of this year, she purchased a condo with my husband and I for $410,000. Her name is on the loan but it wasn't on the title. So we did a Quit Claim Deed to put her name on the title. She will be living in the condo by herself... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 1, 2019

There USED to be a rule allowing taxpayers to defer capital gain on the sale of a house by purchasing a more expensive house within two years. That rule was repealed in 1997. So the purchase of the condo makes no difference.

The new rule allows single taxpayers to permanently avoid paying...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado on
Q: I'm divorced. Does my ex still get everything in my will and make medical decisions for me? Who is my next of kin now?

Will Colorado still consider my ex my next of kin even though we're divorced? Would it go to my teenage daughter? She's not old enough to make medical decisions for me if I'm incapacitated.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 29, 2019

You are asking really good questions. The bottom line is that divorce is one of those events that should trigger an update of your existing estate plan. Schedule an appointment with an estate planning attorney and, in the meantime, be thinking about who you will want to nominate as the guardian... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: If my father was a beneficiary of a will before his death, am I now the beneficiary when that estate sales property?

My father was in my grandmas will upon her death in 2015. The estate has been sitting with real property. My father passed in December of 2018. I am the executor of his estate. Am I entitled to my father's portion of my grandmother's estate and listed in her will? Or is my father's portion... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 15, 2019

Most likely your father lived long enough for his inheritance to vest in him but the only way to know for certain is to review your grandmother’s will. Whether you inherit from your father and to what extent depends on what his will says or, if he did not have a will, what next of kin survived... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: Is there a legal time limit for an executor to close an estate and make disbursements in Colorado?

We have been waiting 22 mos with it not contested or in probate. Is there a time limit law?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 1, 2019

Probate should be opened within three years after the date of death, but there are exceptions to this rule. The important thing for you to know is if the executor of the will has not opened a probate by now, there is nothing to prevent any other interested party (such as an heir) from opening a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado on
Q: To be a valid self proving will in Colorado, are a notary and two witnesses required or only a notary?
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 6, 2019

Two witnesses, a notary, and a self-proving affidavit.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado on
Q: How difficult would it be to contest a will in Colorado where the deceased had wanted specific changes made?

He talked about wanting specific items to go to other people after having a falling out with the original recipient. He verbally told people and wrote it down but never got it back to the lawyer to rewrite the will

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 1, 2019

Have a probate attorney review those writings. If they were entirely or mostly in his handwriting they might qualify and halographic wills and would be enforceable.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Contracts and Probate for Colorado on
Q: how Much time does an executor have to settle the estate?

My grandparents died 5 years ago and had a house out of state that hasn’t sold. It is listed online as “off market” and we still have not received the inheritance from the executor. Do they have a time limit on when this needs to be paid out? It’s been 5 years and it still is not settled.

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Jun 17, 2019

There is no set time for an estate to be wound up and paid out; it depends on the size of the estate and other factors. The executor (or personal representative) of a last will has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the assets entrusted to them and to insure that everything is done legally so as... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: Does the money in my mother's trust belong to the beneficiaries as soon as she dies or does it remain in trust

until each beneficiary receives their yearly distribution until the money runs out? Is there something official that can help back me up on that?

John Hyland Barrett III
John Hyland Barrett III answered on Apr 22, 2019

This depends on the terms of the trust. The trust document controls. It may call for distribution or it may remain in the trust. You have to review the trust statement to see what it says.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Colorado on
Q: If an estate has not been filed for more than five years after the death, is that legal?

My mother in-law helped us secure a mortgage for a home we shared with her. The loan is only in her name. We have paid for ever bill in association with the property and loan. Now my father in-law who doesn’t and hasn’t lived with us discovered the equity is in our home is sizable and is... Read more »

Donald C Eby
Donald C Eby answered on Feb 28, 2019

Ultimately, someone will have to Probate the Mother's Estate. If you have a lot of equity at stake I recommend you talk to an attorney to protect you in this process.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Colorado on
Q: Does my mom have to sell my dad's estate after probate? He had 3 kids prior to marrying my mom & they then had 4 kids.

My dad passed away June 2018. He had no will, only his name is on the house (which is paid off). My mom lives in the house as she was married to him for 39+ years. My dad had 3 kids prior to marrying my mom, then 4 kids with my mom. All 7 'kids' are over 21 years old. We all agree she will be... Read more »

Donald C Eby
Donald C Eby answered on Jan 14, 2019

It is not likely that a probate under these facts will result in a forced sale. But, if the estate is contentious, i.e. someone wants money, your Mother should hire an attorney to assist and defend her.

1 Answer | Asked in Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Estate Planning and Family Law for Colorado on
Q: Can a relative be given Power of Attorney, to help another relative in a different state.

This is because of a car-pedestrian accident. The injured party needs to hire a PI lawyer, and he isn't well versed in claims and because of the injury, a family member needs to be able to be the contact to assist the lawyer and make medical decisions. Is the dual state a problem?

Robert D. Kreisman
Robert D. Kreisman answered on Jan 3, 2019

The first issue is whether the injured party is of sound mind and memory and/or has the capacity to sign a POA. If the injured person hires an attorney, then that attorney would be empowered by the attorney-client contract in most instances to handle most of the issues you raise excepting the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: who has the rights to a house?

My mother in law owned a house jointly with her husband from a second marriage who passed 3 years ago. The house was re-titled into her name and she refinanced the mortgage. If she passes instate, does the house pass equally to her daughters? Or will it go equally to the daughters and to the son of... Read more »

Ashley Dean Powell
Ashley Dean Powell answered on Dec 20, 2018

Short Answer: If the son of her deceased husband was never actually adopted by your mother-in-law, then there is a chance that such un-adopted stepchild will not participate in her estate as one of her own children.

Long Answer: If your mother-in-law is the sole owner of the house and she...
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