June 25, 2019

SB 13-077: Amending Certain Provisions of the Colorado Probate Code

On Tuesday, January 22, 2013, Sen. Ellen Roberts introduced SB 13-077 – Concerning Certain Provisions of the Colorado Probate Code.  This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill clarifies provisions concerning the circumstances under which each party and person in interest with a party shall be allowed to testify regarding an oral statement of a person incapable of testifying when such statement is sought to be admitted into evidence.

The bill clarifies that, subject to certain limitations, a personal representative, a person with priority for appointment as personal representative, and a court-appointed fiduciary:

  • May ascertain the testator’s probable intent or estate planning purpose on issues involving the decedent’s estate; and
  • Shall have standing to prosecute or defend that intent or purpose, at the expense of the estate, in probate proceedings.

Under current law, a personal representative must give certain information concerning his or her appointment to the heirs and devisees of the estate not later than 30 days after his or her appointment. The bill adds a requirement that this information must include a notice that any individual who has knowledge that there is a valid, unrevoked designated beneficiary agreement in which the decedent granted the right of intestate succession should give written notice of such knowledge to the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. The bill also makes changes to this law to align it with a provision of the Colorado rules of probate procedure.

The bill amends the probate code to grant a higher statutory priority to payment of child support claims in decedent’s estates. The bill gives a trustee of an intentionally defective grantor trust the discretionary authority to reimburse the grantor for payment of the income taxes attributable to the trust. This authority does not subject the trust to the grantor’s creditors or cause the trust to be included in the grantor’s estate.

The bill allows a trustee to acquire or retain a life insurance policy on the life of a person for whom the trustee has an insurable interest as a trust asset; however, a trust may expressly provide that this provision does not apply to the trust. A trustee is not relieved of liability with respect to any life insurance policy purchased from an affiliated company, or with respect to which the trustee or any affiliated company of the trustee receives any commission, unless either:

  • The trustee has given written notice of such intended purchase to all qualified beneficiaries of the trust or their legal representatives, and receives written consent to such purchase; or
  • The trust agreement contains a provision that permits purchases of life insurance from an affiliate; however, consent shall be conclusively presumed by any qualified beneficiary who has not responded to written notice by the trustee within 30 days after the mailing of such notice to the qualified beneficiary at his or her last known address.

The bill clarifies the applicability of the effective date of the Colorado probate code to conform Colorado law to the Uniform Probate Code’s effective date provisions. The bill is assigned to the Judiciary Committee; the committee will take the bill up on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 1:30 p.m.

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