What Happens if You Die without a Will?

Robinson & Henry Probate Attorney Steve Prager discusses some of the issues that can crop up with you pass away without a will.

Meet With An Attorney

If you need a will or your loved one passed away without a will, set up a free meeting with our Probate Team at 303-688-0944. You can also schedule online here.

Intestate Estate

An intestate estate means that there is no will to guide how assets should be distributed or to determine who should be the personal representative. That can cause some problems because there’s obviously issues when it comes to determining who gets what inheritance, how things should be distributed, or how things should be split up.

It can also cause issues because without nominating a personal representative, there could be a contest on who should be appointed as the personal representative. The statute in Colorado is pretty clear that there’s a list of people with priority to become personal representative. Without knowing that, it’s hard to determine who should do it. That’s an important reason to hire a probate attorney, because we have a lot of experience figuring out who gets what and how things should be set up.

When an Estate Has Not Been Administered

This means that an estate was opened a few years ago and a personal representative was appointed, but they didn’t do anything. They didn’t distribute assets or retitle property. It’s important to get that done because sometimes, for example, a house can be left in the property of somebody who’s since passed away. That can be a litigious issue because people will dispute what should go places or who should get what. Without doing it right away, issues can fester and get a little bit worse.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

As a personal representative, an individual owes a duty to the estate and to the heirs, not just to themselves. If somebody thinks that something has been done incorrectly, that can lead to a breach of fiduciary duty claim.

Hire a Probate Attorney

All of these issues are resolved if you look at the statute and you engage in productive discussions with each individual party. That’s where a probate attorney can be very helpful.

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