Colorado Intestacy Laws
Colorado Intestacy Laws
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Colorado's Intestacy Laws

If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of Colorado, you are said to have died "intestate."  In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of Colorado has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see Colorado intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.

 

 

Intestate Estate

(1) Any part of a decedent's estate not effectively disposed of by will or otherwise passes by intestate succession to the decedent's heirs as prescribed in this code, except as modified by the decedent's will.

(2) A decedent by will may expressly exclude or limit the right of an individual or class to succeed to property of the decedent passing by intestate succession. If that individual or a member of that class survives the decedent, the share of the decedent's intestate estate to which that individual or class would have succeeded passes as if that individual or each member of that class had disclaimed his or her
intestate share.

Colorado Statutes, § 15-11-101

 

Share of Spouse

The various possible circumstances describing the decedent, his or her surviving spouse, and their surviving descendants, if any, are set forth in this section to be utilized in determining the intestate share of the decedent's surviving spouse. If more than one circumstance is applicable, the circumstance that produces the largest share for the surviving spouse shall be applied.

(1) If:

          (a) No descendant or parent of the decedent survives the decedent, then the surviving spouse receives the entire intestate estate; or

          (b) All of the decedent's surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and there are no other descendants of the surviving spouse who survive the decedent, then the surviving spouse receives the entire intestate estate;

(2) If no descendant of the decedent survives the decedent, but a parent of the decedent survives the decedent, then the surviving spouse receives the first two hundred thousand dollars, plus three-fourths of any balance of the intestate estate;

(3) If all of the decedent's surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has one or more surviving descendants who are not descendants of the decedent, then the surviving spouse receives the first one hundred fifty thousand dollars, plus one-half of any balance of the intestate estate;

(4) If one or more of the decedent's surviving descendants are not descendants of the decedent's surviving spouse, and all of such surviving descendants who are children of the decedent are adults, then the surviving spouse receives the first one hundred thousand dollars, plus one-half of any balance of the intestate estate;

(5) If one or more of the decedent's surviving descendants are not descendants of the decedent's surviving spouse, and if one or more of such descendants who are children of the decedent are minors, then the surviving spouse receives one-half of the intestate estate.

Colorado Statutes, § 15-11-102

 

Share of Heirs Other Than Surviving Spouse

Any part of the intestate estate not passing to the decedent's surviving spouse under section 15-11-102, or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse, passes in the following order to the individuals designated who survive the decedent:

(1) To the decedent's descendants per capita at each generation;

(2) If there is no surviving descendant, to the decedent's parents equally if both survive, or to the decedent's surviving parent;

(3) If there is no surviving descendant or surviving parent, to the surviving descendants of the decedent's parents or either of them per capita at each generation;

(4) If there is no surviving descendant, surviving parent, or surviving descendant of a parent, to the decedent's surviving grandparents, or any of them, in equal shares;

(5) If there is no surviving descendant, surviving parent, surviving descendant of a parent, or surviving grandparent, to the surviving descendants of the decedent's grandparents per capita at each generation;

(6) If there is no surviving heir under subsections (1) to (5) of this section, and if a birth child or birth children file a claim for inheritance with the court having probate jurisdiction for the decedent's estate within ninety days of decedent's death, to the decedent's surviving birth child or children per capita at each generation. For purposes of this subsection (6), the term "birth child" means a child who was born to, but adopted away from, his or her natural parent.

(7) If there is no surviving heir or birth child under subsections (1) to (6) of this section, and if a birth parent or birth parents file a claim for inheritance with the court having probate jurisdiction for the decedent's estate within ninety days of decedent's death, to the decedent's birth parents equally if both survive, or to the surviving birth parent. For purposes of this subsection (7), the term "birth parent" means the natural parent of a child who was born to, but adopted away from, the natural parent.

Colorado Statutes, § 15-11-103

 

Requirement That Heir Survive Decedent For 120 Hours

An individual who fails to survive the decedent by one hundred twenty hours is deemed to have predeceased the decedent for the purposes of exempt property, and intestate succession, and the decedent's heirs are determined accordingly. If the time of death of a decedent or of an individual who would otherwise be an heir, or the times of death of both, cannot be determined, and it is not established by clear and convincing evidence that the individual who would otherwise be an heir survived the decedent by one hundred twenty hours, it is deemed that the individual failed to survive for the required period. This section is not to be applied if its application would result in a taking of intestate estate by the state under section 15-11-105 or when the provisions of section 15-11-712 relating to simultaneous death are applicable.

Colorado Statutes, § 15-11-104

 

No Taker

If there is no taker under the provisions of this article, the intestate estate passes to the state of Colorado, subject to the provisions of section 15-12-914.

Colorado Statutes, § 15-11-105

 

Other Intestacy Statutes

There are additional statutes pertaining to the distribution of intestate property in the State of Colorado. To view those statutes, please click here.

 

 

[Reference - Colorado's Intestacy laws]

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