Overview of Essential Inheritance Laws in Colorado

Colorado

If you live in the state of Colorado, or if a family member or loved one has died in the Mile High State, you may need information about the basic laws governing inheritance, probate, and an estate. The Colorado Probate Code establishes the essential elements of law that govern the manner in which a deceased person’s estate is dealt with in Colorado. There are a number of key features of the law that need to be understood.

 

Defining Probate Assets or Probate Property

 

In defining what constitutes probate property, an initial step is defining what are the assets of a person’s estate, according to the inheritance laws in Colorado. Determining what property is part of an estate and subject to probate as defined by the inheritance law is really an exercise in determining what property is not included. Property that will not be included in an estate and subject to the probate process includes:

  • Assets held in a trust
  • Property jointly owned with someone else that has a right of survivorship
  • Life insurance with a designated beneficiary that is not the estate

Estates with a Will

 

The inheritance laws of Colorado distinguish between a person who has died with a last will and testament and one who has not. Simply, when a person dies with a will, the manner in which property is inherited is generally set forth within the confines of that legal instrument. In other words, the last wishes of a person who has died are honored to the extent permitted by law.

 

When a person passes on with a will, that instrument designates what is known as an executor. An executor is a person designated to oversee the affairs of the estate, including ensuring the distribution of assets or property to the heirs as set forth in the will.

 

Estates without a Will

 

In a fair amount of cases in Colorado, a person dies without having written a will or established a trust. Thus, the assets of such an estate are distributed to people as prescribed by Colorado law. The Colorado Probate Code specifically delineates who and how property is to be distributed to family members when an individual dies without a will. This legally is called intestate succession.

 

In this type of situation, the probate court appoints a personal representative to oversee the affairs of the estate when no will was prepared. An administrator undertakes the same types of tasks as does an executor.

 

Types of Probate Processes

 

Colorado has essentially adopted the Uniform Probate Code. This is a legal code that is in use in many states across the country. Pursuant to the Uniform Probate Code, there are three different types of probate processes that are utilized in the event of a person’s death. These are:

  • Affidavit
  • Informal
  • Formal

The affidavit process is utilized when a person passes away, with or without a will, and has left assets behind with a value of $50,000 or less. There must also be no real estate.

 

Through the affidavit process, the property is identified, collected, and distributed to individuals designated in a will or pursuant to the Colorado intestate succession laws. When this is accomplished, an affidavit is filed with the probate court.

 

If an estate is valued at more than $50,000 or is less than that amount but involves real estate, either an informal or formal probate process must be pursued in court. A petition for probate is filed with the court. The presiding judge will undertake an initial review of the estate and make a determination as to whether or not it qualifies for the informal probate process.

 

If an estate qualifies for informal probate, the executor or personal representative is able to address the affairs of the estate with little involvement from the probate court. In many cases, the executor or personal representative will only need to file a document with the court when the affairs of the estate have been addressed advising the court of the conclusion.

 

On the other hand, if a judge determines a formal probate process must be utilized, the court will be more involved in the process of addressing the affairs of the estate. For example, the court will approve the sale of real estate before such a transaction can be undertaken.

 

In the aftermath of the death of a family member, consulting with a qualified attorney is advisable when it comes to ascertaining what will and will not be necessary in regard to Colorado probate, estate, and inheritance laws. The first step is seeking an initial consultation with a Colorado probate and estate lawyer, for which there typically is no cost.

 

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Tips for Establishing a Comfortable, Functional Home Office

Home OfficeAn ever-increasing number of people are working from home with each passing year. This includes individuals who work only from home as well as people who telecommute part of the time. As a result, the need for comfortable, functional home offices is also on the upswing.

 

The creation of a home office is something that must be undertaken strategically. In this regard, there are some specific tips to bear in mind when it comes to setting up an ideal home office.

 

Develop a Plan

 

You should not take off on pulling together a home office in a haphazard manner. Rather, you need to develop a comprehensive plan for your workspace. This includes developing a list of the critical elements that you must have for your home office. The list should cover all of the basics, like a desk, appropriate chairs, telephone, copy machine, and the like. You will also want to make certain that you identify any other special items unique to the work you will do that you need to include in your fully outfitted home office.

 

Select an Appropriate Space in Your Residence

 

Once you have developed a plan you will have a better idea of what you will need in the way of a specific space for your home office. You might have very limited options in this regard. Nevertheless, you need to make certain that the space you select for your home office can be dedicated to that use only. You need a space that will permit you privacy and a lack of distraction.

 

Work Area Versus Storage

 

A common mistake people when it comes to creating a home office is developing a great work area but forgetting about space for storage. The reality is that an office requires sufficient storage space for supplies and other purposes. Thus, when you get down to the nitty-gritty of organizing your home office, you need to make sure that you strike an appropriate balance between suitable work space and sufficient area for storage.

 

Proper Lighting

 

Another area that many a home worker fails to pay appropriate attention to is lighting. You need to make sure that you have suitable lighting for your home office. Ideally, you are able to set up your home office in a space that has a nice amount of natural lighting.

 

Beyond natural lighting, you will want to make sure that there is sufficient overhead lighting in the space. In addition, you might want to consider what best can be called task lighting. For example, you will want to ensure that you have a suitable light on your desk or other work area.

 

Dedicated Phone Line

 

This might seem like a small point but you definitely want to make sure that you have a dedicated phone line for your business. There are a number of reasons why this is important, including you really do not want to make your personal telephone line public. The reality is that a dedicated home office phone line may be a given inasmuch as many residences no longer have landlines anyway.

 

Keep Personal Matters Out of Your Home Office

 

You need to make sure that you establish firm boundaries between your home office and personal matters. A key reason why you want to take this approach as to do with taxes. If you properly maintain a work space in your home you are able to take a tax deduction for that space. You can deduct that portion of your mortgage or rent payments that can be attributed to the amount of space dedicated to your home office, provided you don’t mix business with personal in that area.

 

Another primary reason why you need to maintain firm boundaries between the home office and the rest of the residence is to better ensure your own productivity. You tend to work in your office and enjoy your personal time outside of that area.

 

Maintain Office Hours

 

One of the benefits of working from home is flexibility. With that understood, you still need to maintain a sense of discipline when it comes to conducting business from a home. As a result, you are wise to establish specific office hours each week. Establishing office hours accomplishes two important goals. Taking this approach provides you structure, which enhances efficiency. In addition, establishing specific office hours lets other people in your home know when you cannot be bothered because you are working. Everyone can plan around your office hours, provided that they are made aware of them in advance.

 

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Jessica is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage, a leading company that provide Internet fax service services for individuals and businesses.