Frequently Asked Questions
01 Why do I need a Financial Power of Attorney? A Financial Power of Attorney, also known as a General Power of Attorney or General
Durable Power of Attorney, gives a person you designate in writing as you agent the
authority to manage your finances and property, and to transact business on your behalf.
The agent must make decisions based upon your preferences and the authority stated in the
document and cannot overrule your stated preferences. In general, an agent can do
whatever you would do, such as withdraw funds from bank accounts, pay your bills, trade
stock, and cash checks, and the agent can only use your finances as you authorize their use.
02 Why do I need a Medical Power of Attorney? A Medical Power of Attorney generally gives an agent the authority to make medical and
personal care decisions on your behalf.
01 What is a Personal Representative?
In Colorado, a Personal Representative is the person named to administer a deceased
person’s estate, regardless of whether that person is named in a will or is appointed
because there was no will. In the past, this person was called an “executor” or
“executrix.” A Personal Representative is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the
decedent regarding distribution of his/her assets, and to complete the decedent’s financial
affairs, such as paying bills and filing tax returns.
02 Does every Colorado resident’s estate have to go through the probate process in
court after death?
No. In Colorado, only certain assets of the decedent are considered part of the “probate”
estate, and only if the total value of those assets exceed a certain dollar amount. Assets
subject to probate are only those that were solely owned by the decedent and lacked a
beneficiary designation at the time of death. Assets that are not subject to probate
• Assets held in a Trust
• Jointly owned assets such as a home or bank account
• Pensions, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts (such as a 401(k) or
IRA), so long as the decedent designated one or more beneficiaries before death
• Solely owned bank and/or investment accounts on which the decedent did not
complete a “TOD” (Transfer On Death) or “POD” (Payable On Death) form with
the financial institution, but only if the cumulative value of the assets are is more
03 How long does it take to complete the probate process? In Colorado, most estates can be administered in probate in one year. If there are
disputes such as who should be appointed Personal Representative or who the rightful
beneficiaries are, a probate case could take longer than a year and likely will cost more,
which will reduce the estate and consequently the distribution amounts to the