The Comprehensive Guide to Probate, Trusts, Estate Planning, and Inheritance Litigation

Who Are Next Of Kin In Colorado?

The term “next of kin” in Colorado is generally interpreted to mean those persons entitled to take under the statute of descendant and distribution, otherwise known as “intestate heirs.”  In this context, next of kin in Colorado generally are:

  1. Surviving spouse
  2. Children and children’s descendants
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings and sibling’s descendants
  5. Grandparents
  6. Aunts and uncles

What Next Of Kin Inherit When There Is No Will In Colorado?

When someone dies without a will in Colorado, they have died intestate.  The laws of Colorado govern who inherits from their estate.  The next of kin that are considered intestate heirs for the purposes of intestate succession in Colorado depends on the survivors of the decedent:

Survivors Of Decedent

Share Of Intestate Estate

Surviving spouse only

–          Entire estate

Surviving spouse and children who are also children of the surviving spouse

–          Entire estate

Surviving spouse and children, and surviving spouse has children who are not decedent’s children

–          Surviving spouse inherits first $225,000, and 50% of the balance of the estate

–          Decedent’s children inherit the remainder of the estate per stirpes

Surviving spouse and adult children who are not the surviving spouse’s children

–          Surviving spouse inherits first $150,000 and 50% of balance of the estate

–          Decedent’s children inherit the balance per stirpes

Spouse and at least one minor child that is not a child of the surviving spouse

–          Surviving spouse and decedent’s children split the estate equally

Surviving spouse and parents

–          Surviving spouse inherits first $300,000 of estate and 75% of the balance

–          Parents inherit remaining 25%

Descendants only

–          Entire estate per stirpes

Parents only

–          Entire estate in equal shares (if only one surviving parent, survivor inherits entire estate)

Siblings and sibling’s descendants only

–          Siblings inherit entire estate per stirpes

Grandparents only

–          Estate split evenly among grandparents

Aunts and uncles only

–          Estate split evenly among aunts and uncles

Absolutely no one listed above

–          The state of Colorado

These rules can be found in Colo. Rev. Stat. 15-11-102 and Colo Rev. Stat. 15-11-103.

What Does Per Stirpes Mean In Colorado Inheritance Law?

“Per stirpes” means that all descendants of a deceased parent take the share of the deceased parent and split it among themselves.  Everyone of the same generation is allotted an equal share, and, if deceased, their descendants split their share.

What Will A Next of Kin Heir Inherit From a Colorado Intestate Estate?

Just because you are a next of kin intestate heir of a Colorado decedent, does not mean that there are automatically assets for you to inherit.

If a decedent died with no probate assets, the Colorado intestacy laws will not govern the distribution of decedent’s assets.  Instead, the titling of the assets or the beneficiary designations on the assets will control.

For example, if a Colorado decedent dies with jointly owned bank accounts, and a life insurance policy with a beneficiary designation other than the estate, there will be no assets distributed via intestate succession laws.  See our Probate and Non-Probate Assets Chart.

Survivorship Requirement Under Colorado Law

In order for a next of kin heir to inherit under the intestacy laws of Colorado, they must survive the decedent by at least 120 hours.  Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. 15-11-104.