- responsibility for protecting decedent’s estate
- duty of persons holding property
(1)Upon notification of the death of any person who was either a resident of Colorado, or a nonresident who died owning real or personal property located in Colorado, it shall be the responsibility of the public administrator of the judicial district of the decedent’s residence, or, in the case of a nonresident, of the public administrator of the judicial district wherein the decedent’s property is located, to take possession of the decedent’s property or to take such measures as are reasonably necessary to protect and secure the decedent’s property. The public administrator need not act in cases where such property can be protected by a person who is in the vicinity of the property and who is willing and able to provide such protection, if such person is either an heir of the decedent or has apparent authority to act as the personal representative of the decedent’s estate as set forth in an original document that reasonably appears to be the last will of the decedent.
(2)In appropriate cases, the public administrator shall act as soon as the public administrator receives notice of the decedent’s death. The public administrator shall continue to protect the decedent’s property until the administration of the decedent’s estate is granted to a person or entity by a court of proper jurisdiction or until the public administrator is presented with a properly executed affidavit pursuant to section 15-12-1201. The ten-day waiting period required in section 15-12-1201 (1)(b) shall not apply to affidavits presented to a public administrator to obtain property being protected by a public administrator pursuant to this section.
(3)Reasonable administration fees and costs including reasonable attorney fees incurred in efforts to protect the decedent’s property shall be paid to the public administrator at the time such property is released by the public administrator. Upon the presentation or mailing of an itemized statement of fees and costs to the person assuming responsibility for the case, the public administrator shall be entitled to deduct such fees and costs from any cash assets of the decedent’s estate that are in the public administrator’s possession. Any fee dispute regarding a public administrator’s fees and costs shall be resolved by petition to the district or probate court that has jurisdiction over the estate.
(4)When a person dies leaving property located in any house, residence, or apartment, on the premises of another, or in a nursing home, coroner’s office, mortuary, state agency, or public or private hospital, without leaving either a known heir residing in this state or a resident of this state who has been nominated as a personal representative in an original document that reasonably appears to be the last will of the decedent, the person in possession of such house, residence, apartment or premises, or the administrator of such nursing home, coroner’s office, mortuary, state agency, or public or private hospital, shall give prompt notice of death, and notice of the existence of the property, to the public administrator of that judicial district. Any person who fails to act in compliance with this section shall be liable for all damages and any loss that may be sustained as a result of the neglect or refusal of such person to report the death or the existence of property to the public administrator. Such damages may be recovered by the decedent’s heirs or successors, or by the public administrator. It shall be the responsibility of any law enforcement agency, coroner, or other public agency to give notice to the public administrator of the appropriate jurisdiction at any time they believe that property of a decedent located within their jurisdiction is not properly secured or protected.
Section 15-12-620 — Public administrator - responsibility for protecting decedent’s estate - duty of persons holding property,
https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2023-title-15.pdf (accessed Oct. 20, 2023).