Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Colorado

Only beneficiary denied access to deceased fathers bank account with no will

Before my father passed away he had me sign for access to his bank account-checking and safe deposit box. He also had a savings account at the same bank, which Im sure he thought was included in the things I was signing for. Turns out we overlooked the savings account which I am denied access to, result of not signing for separately. I've closed the checking account and safe deposit box but still receive statements for savings account-even though Im not named specifically on......? We were sure there was a will, thought it was in the safe deposit box but it is nowhere to be found. I am an only child and my father was very ill. He did write me an informal letter stating that I was in charge of his possessions, material things and what I could do with them-keep or not. I dont believe he was specific about accounts/money considering he thought he had taken care of that. Banker has requested the following in order close the savings account....copy of my Nevada drivers lic., original death certificate, small estate claim paper for colorado (my father actually died in Arizona-not sure if that matters?), Personal Representation papers. Cant figure out what small estate claim is, where do i get personal rep.papers. Help please

Asked on 4/23/05, 12:45 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Grenville Pridham Law Office of Grenville Pridham
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Re: Only beneficiary denied access to deceased fathers bank account with no will

You need to open probate in the state where your father was a resident at the time of his death. Most states have probate statutes that provide if an estate has a value under $25,000 or $50,000, for example, there are streamlined procedures to get the probate orders to close an estate. That is what the banker meant by small estate claim.

If the letter from your father states how he wants his estate disposed of and handled, is handwritten, dated, and signed by him, then it is called a holographic will. You can use that when you file the probate paperwork.

Most courts now have forms on the internet. You need to find the court where your father resided and find their forms. The law library also has the forms.

I assume your father was either divorced or your mother is deceased. If your mother was still married to him, then she is also a beneficiary.

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4/23/05, 2:33 am
John Campbell Law Offices of John J. Campbell, P.C.
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Re: Only beneficiary denied access to deceased fathers bank account with no will

It makes no difference where your father died, so long as he still considered Colorado his domicile and intended to return. The small estate affidavit prodecure should work for you if the balance in the savings account was less than $50,000. You should not need anything but a small estate affidavit, death certificate and identification to have the savings account funds transferred to you. See: Colorado Revised Statutes, Sections 15-12-1201 throuth 15-12-1205. I would be happy to assist if you wish.

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4/23/05, 12:31 pm

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