It is emotionally draining to lose a loved one, whether it was due to old age, sickness, or untimely death. Children, spouses, and relatives grieve over the loss of life that brought them joy over the years. A quick-yet-complicated matter can easily send surviving family members into a spiral: assessing and dealing with the inheritances from the deceased. Is there a will to follow the wishes of the family member who passed? What taxes need to be paid? What if there are multiple claims for assets by spouses, ex-spouses, and the children of both? Having a Colorado Springs family law attorney to assist you in these matters is an invaluable asset as things become complex.
Regarding taxes, Colorado does not have inheritance nor estate taxes, but there are still taxes that need to be handled upon death. Before the following tax day, you must file the final federal and state taxes of the individual. You must also file the federal estate/trust income tax return as well as the federal estate tax return. Additionally, your estate must have its own IRS identification number to avoid confusion and mishaps.
In most cases, the deceased will have drawn a will and signed it themselves along with having two witnesses sign it. It is often safe to assume, though there are some exceptions, that the departed was of sound mind when they wrote their will. When a person dies with a will in place, the state respects their wishes and allows the passing of property and assets without issue. If the person dies without a will, or if it was not legally binding (otherwise known as intestate) however, the courts will name an executor to divide assets. There are three (3) levels of court intervention in the case of an intestate will: 1) Formal probate is used when there will be contestation from heirs regarding asset division; 2) Informal probate is the most common as most estates will not have frequent bickering or squabbling over assets; and 3) small estate probate for estates valued under $50,000.
If the deceased did not have a will, but did have a spouse, Colorado inheritance law states that all property and assets will go to them. If a person dies without a spouse, but has children, the entire estate will go to them. So far, things seem pretty simple and you may not think you need a Colorado Springs family attorney to assist. But what happens if the deceased had a previous marriage with children, but re-married and had children with their second spouse? Confusion rapidly spreads as assets get divided between the two families.
It is always difficult losing a loved one and things can turn sour when it comes time to pass along inheritance to surviving family members. When the deceased passes without a will, the confusion compounds exponentially and grief can turn to anger and ire. It is best to have a Colorado Springs family law attorney to look over the details of the case to provide you with knowledge of the law and your rights. We’re here for you in troubled times and will help see you through; call us today to learn more.