“You do not want all of your assets going to the state” is a common statement you hear when people talk about putting an estate plan in place; however, that statement is more myth than truth. While it is true that your assets could end up going to the state, there are many other people it may go to beforehand. The Colorado Intestacy Statute is essentially Colorado’s estate plan for you – it lays out who in your family gets what assets. It is usually analyzed throughout the probate process for a person who dies without a will, also known as dying “intestate.” Here is a generalized look at the order your loved ones could inherit through intestate succession:
Risks Involved with Intestate Succession
As to be expected, intestate succession distribution in Colorado is not as easy as those bullet points. With that in mind, the below examples describe how the law could impact your family’s inheritance:
Blended Families: A and B marry and have three children, 1, 2, and 3. Later, A and B divorce. A marries C, and they do not have any children together. A then dies without an estate plan. According to the intestacy statute in 2023, C receives the first $150,000 and half of the remainder of the estate. That leaves very little for A’s children.
Disinherited Children: A and B marry and have three children, 1, 2, and 3. Family disputes arise, and despite A and B’s best attempts over the years, 2 refuses to speak with the family. A and B decide that they do not want to leave anything to their ungrateful child; however, they pass away without properly disinheriting 2 in an estate plan. Now, A and B’s estate must abide by the intestacy statute, which means that everything will be divided equally between 1, 2, and 3.
Distant Relatives: A and B marry and have three children, 1, 2, and 3. Unfortunately, the whole family dies in a pogo stick accident, and A and B had not created an estate plan. Both A and B’s parents have predeceased them, and neither A nor B have siblings. Under the intestacy statute, the estate would be distributed to the descendants of A and B’s grandparents – so, either A and B’s aunts and uncles receive the estate, or A and B’s cousins if aunts and uncles have also predeceased.
Get Your Estate Plan Done the Way YOU Want
Put the control back into your hands. With a proper estate plan, you decide where your hard-earned assets go – not the state! At Axis Law Group, we assist you in working through estate planning challenges to accomplish your goals. Meet with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys to learn more about what type of estate plan would be best for you!