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Colorado Intestacy Laws

The following are excerpts from Colorado’s intestacy laws. Please reference the full body of the Colorado Probate Code at the Colorado Legislature for any changes to those laws that may not be reflected below.

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Colorado Intestate Laws

15-10-101. Short title
Articles 10 to 17 of this title shall be known and may be cited as the “Colorado Probate Code” and is referred to in said articles as “this code” or “code”.

15-10-112. Cost of living adjustment of certain dollar amounts
(1) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) “CPI” means the consumer price index (annual average) for all urban consumers (CPI-U): United States city average — all items, reported by the bureau of labor statistics, United States department of labor or its successor agency or, if the index is discontinued, an equivalent index reported by a federal authority. If no such index is reported, the term means the substitute index chosen by the department of revenue; and
(b) “Reference base index” means the CPI for the calendar year 2010.
(2) The dollar amounts stated in sections 15-11-102, 15-11-202 (2), 15-11-403, and 15-11-405 apply to the estate of a decedent who died during or after 2010, but for the estate of a decedent who died after 2011, these dollar amounts must be increased or decreased if the CPI for the calendar year immediately preceding the year of death exceeds or is less than the reference base index. The amount of any increase or decrease is computed by multiplying each dollar amount by the percentage by which the CPI for the calendar year immediately preceding the year of death exceeds or is less than the reference base index. If the amount of the increase or decrease produced by the computation is not a multiple of one thousand dollars, then the amount of the increase or decrease is rounded down if it is an increase, or rounded up if it is a decrease, to the next multiple of one thousand dollars, but for the purpose of section 15-11-405, the periodic installment amount is the lump-sum amount divided by twelve. If the CPI for 2010 is changed by the bureau of labor statistics, the reference base index must be revised using the rebasing factor reported by the bureau of labor statistics, or other comparable data if a rebasing factor is not reported.
(3) Before February 1, 2012, and before February 1 of each succeeding year, the department of revenue shall publish a cumulative list, beginning with the dollar amounts effective for the estate of a decedent who died in 2012 of each dollar amount as increased or decreased under this section.

15-10-201. General definitions
Subject to additional definitions contained in this article and the subsequent articles that are applicable to specific articles, parts, or sections, and unless the context otherwise requires, in this code:
(7) “Child” includes an individual entitled to take as a child under this code by intestate succession from the parent whose relationship is involved and excludes a person who is only a stepchild, a foster child, a grandchild, or any more remote descendant.
(11) “Descendant” means all of the individual’s lineal descendants of all generations, with the relationship of parent and child at each generation being determined by the definitions of child and parent contained in this code.
(18) “Exempt property” means that property of a decedent’s estate which is described in section 15-11-403.
(24) “Heirs”, except as controlled by section 15-11-711, means persons, including the surviving spouse, who are entitled under the statutes of intestate succession to the property of a decedent.
(28) “Issue” of a person means descendant as defined in subsection (11) of this section.
(32) “Minor” means a person who is under eighteen years of age.
(36) “Parent” includes any person entitled to take, or who would be entitled to take if the child died without a will, as a parent under this code by intestate succession from the child whose relationship is in question and excludes any person who is only a stepparent, foster parent, or grandparent.
(42) “Property” means both real and personal property or any interest therein and anything that may be the subject of ownership.

15-11-101. 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.

15-11-102. 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. The intestate share of a decedent’s surviving spouse is:
(1) The entire intestate estate if:
(a) No descendant or parent of the decedent survives the decedent; or
(b) All of the decedent’s surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and there is no other descendant of the surviving spouse who survives the decedent;
(2) The first three hundred thousand dollars, plus three-fourths of any balance of the intestate estate, if no descendant of the decedent survives the decedent, but a parent of the decedent survives the decedent;
(3) The first two hundred twenty-five thousand dollars, plus one-half of any balance of the intestate estate, 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;
(4) The first one hundred fifty thousand dollars, plus one-half of any balance of the intestate estate, if one or more of the decedent’s surviving descendants are not descendants of the surviving spouse.
(5) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2009, (HB 09-1287), ch. 310, p. 1671, § 3, effective July 1, 2010.)
(6) The dollar amounts stated in this section shall be increased or decreased based on the cost of living adjustment as calculated and specified in section 15-10-112.

15-11-102.5. Share of designated beneficiary
(1) If the decedent is survived by a person with the right to inherit real or personal property from the decedent in a designated beneficiary agreement executed pursuant to article 22 of this title, the intestate share of the decedent’s designated beneficiary is:
(a) The entire estate if no descendent of the decedent survives the decedent; or
(b) One half of the intestate estate if one or more descendants of the decedent survive the decedent.




15-11-103. Share of heirs other than surviving spouse and designated beneficiary
Any part of the intestate estate not passing to the decedent’s surviving spouse under section 15-11-102, or to the decedent’s surviving designated beneficiary under section 15-11-102.5, or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse and no surviving designated beneficiary with the right to inherit real or personal property from the decedent through intestate succession, passes in the following order to the individuals who survive the decedent:
(1) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2010, (SB 10-199), ch. 374, p. 1748, § 5, effective July 1, 2010.)
(2) To the decedent’s descendants per capita at each generation;
(3) If there is no surviving descendant, to the decedent’s parents equally if both survive, or to the surviving parent if only one survives;
(4) If there is no surviving descendant or parent, to the descendants of the decedent’s parents or either of them per capita at each generation;
(5) If there is no surviving descendant, parent, or descendant of a parent, but the decedent is survived on both the paternal and maternal sides by one or more grandparents or descendants of grandparents:
(a) Half to the decedent’s paternal grandparents equally if both survive, to the surviving paternal grandparent if only one survives, or to the descendants of the decedent’s paternal grandparents or either of them if both are deceased, the descendants taking per capita at each generation; and
(b) Half to the decedent’s maternal grandparents equally if both survive, to the surviving maternal grandparent if only one survives, or to the descendants of the decedent’s maternal grandparents or either of them if both are deceased, the descendants taking per capita at each generation;
(6) If there is no surviving descendant, parent, or descendant of a parent, but the decedent is survived by one or more grandparents or descendants of grandparents on the paternal but not the maternal side, or on the maternal but not the paternal side, to the decedent’s relatives on the side with one or more surviving members in the manner as described in subsection (5) of this section;
(7) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2010, (SB 10-199), ch. 374, p. 1748, § 5, effective July 1, 2010.)
(8) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2009, (HB 09-1287), ch. 310, p. 1672, § 4, effective July 1, 2010.)

15-11-104. Requirement of survival by one hundred twenty hours – individual gestation
(1) For purposes of intestate succession and exempt property, and except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection (1), the following rules apply:
(a) An individual born before a decedent’s death who fails to survive the decedent by one hundred twenty hours is deemed to have predeceased the decedent. If it is not established by clear and convincing evidence that an individual born before the decedent’s death survived the decedent by one hundred twenty hours, it is deemed that the individual failed to survive for the required period.
(b) An individual in gestation at a decedent’s death is deemed to be living at the decedent’s death if the individual lives one hundred twenty hours after birth. If it is not established by clear and convincing evidence that an individual in gestation at the decedent’s death lived one hundred twenty hours after birth, it is deemed that the individual failed to survive for the required period.
(2) 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.

15-11-105. 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.

15-11-106. Per capita at each generation
(1) Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) “Deceased descendant”, “deceased parent”, or “deceased grandparent” means a descendant, parent, or grandparent who either predeceased the decedent or is deemed to have predeceased the decedent under section 15-11-104.
(b) “Surviving descendant” means a descendant who neither predeceased the decedent nor is deemed to have predeceased the decedent under section 15-11-104.
(2) Decedent’s descendants. If, under section 15-11-103 (2), a decedent’s intestate estate or a part thereof passes “per capita at each generation” to the decedent’s descendants, the estate or part thereof is divided into as many equal shares as there are (i) surviving descendants in the generation nearest to the decedent which contains one or more surviving descendants and (ii) deceased descendants in the same generation who left surviving descendants, if any. Each surviving descendant in the nearest generation is allocated one share. The remaining shares, if any, are combined and then divided in the same manner among the surviving descendants of the deceased descendants as if the surviving descendants who are allocated a share and their surviving descendants had predeceased the decedent.
(3) Descendants of parents or grandparents. If, under section 15-11-103 (4) or (6), a decedent’s intestate estate or a part thereof passes “per capita at each generation” to the descendants of the decedent’s deceased parents or either of them, or to the descendants of the decedent’s deceased grandparents or any of them, the estate or part thereof is divided into as many equal shares as there are (i) surviving descendants in the generation nearest to the deceased parents or either of them, or the deceased grandparents or any of them, that contains one or more surviving descendants and (ii) deceased descendants in the same generation who left surviving descendants, if any. Each surviving descendant in the nearest generation is allocated one share. The remaining shares, if any, are combined and then divided in the same manner among the surviving descendants of the deceased descendants as if the surviving descendants who were allocated a share and their surviving descendants had predeceased the decedent.

15-11-107. Kindred of half blood
Relatives of half blood inherit the same share they would inherit if they were of whole blood.

15-11-112. Dower and courtesy abolished
The estates of dower and courtesy are abolished.

15-11-113. Individuals related to decedent through two blood lines
An individual who is related to the decedent through two blood lines of relationship is entitled to only a single share based upon the relationship which would entitle the individual to the larger share.

15-11-114. Parent barred from inheriting in certain circumstances
(1) A parent is barred from inheriting from or through a child of the parent if:
(a) The parent’s parental rights were terminated and the parent-child relationship was not judicially reestablished; or
(b) The child died before reaching eighteen years of age and there is clear and convincing evidence that immediately before the child’s death the parental rights of the parent could have been terminated under the laws of this state other than this code on the basis of nonsupport, abandonment, abuse, neglect, or other actions or inactions of the parent toward the child.
(2) For the purpose of intestate succession from or through the deceased child, a parent who is barred from inheriting under this section is treated as if the parent predeceased the child.