Your mother or father may have explained their legacy wishes to you repeatedly as they grew older. They may have told you about what they want their funeral to be like or who should receive which assets of theirs.
Unfortunately, you may realize after they die that they did not leave behind any written instructions about their wishes. You could find yourself in the awkward situation where are you have to go to probate court without an estate plan.
What happens to your parent’s property if they die without a written will or other estate plan documents?
Colorado law dictates the distribution of their assets
People who die without a will or estate plan have died intestate. It is a common occurrence, and Colorado has laws already in place to decide what happens to their property afterward. Those laws dictate which people have the right to inherit property from the estate, and as the person handling the estate, you will need to defer to those rules.
As you might imagine, intestate succession laws favor the closest family members. Your other surviving parent or a stepparent will have certain inheritance rights, as will you as a child of the deceased and any of your siblings.
If a loved one dies without estate planning documents, you will need to gather records about your parent’s possessions and their financial circumstances at the time of their death. That information, along with your statement about the lack of testamentary documents, will inform how the probate courts handle the assets and debts in the estate.
Learning more about the Colorado laws for probate administration will help you while handling your parent’s intestate estate. Legal guidance can help.