Colorado Legislative Council Staff
NO FISCAL IMPACT
January 15, 1999
Susan Colling (303-866-4784)
TITLE: CONCERNING THE COLORADO PROBATE CODE, AND, IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, AUTHORIZING GUARDIANS AND CONSERVATORS TO PETITION THE COURT FOR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE OR LEGAL SEPARATION ON BEHALF OF AN INCAPACITATED PERSON OR A PROTECTED PERSON, ESTABLISHING A PRESUMPTION OF TENANCY IN COMMON FOR DISPOSITION OF TANGIBLE PERSONAL PROPERTY, AND CLARIFYING THE REQUIREMENTS FOR PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS AMONG SUCCESSORS.
Summary of Assessment
The bill allows a guardian of a ward who is an incapacitated person or a conservator of a protected person to petition the court for authority to commence a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation on behalf of the incapacitated or protected person.
The bill establishes a presumption that tangible personal property of a decedent, where no certificate of title, bill of sale or other writing declares ownership, is owned by the decedent and the decedent's spouse in equal shares as tenants of common. The bill states the presumption of ownership as tenants in common may be overcome by a preponderance of the evidence. The presumption of ownership as tenants in common shall not apply to:
• property acquired before marriage;
• property acquired by gift or inheritance;
• property used by the decedent in a trade or business in which the surviving spouse has no interest;
• property held for another; and
• property devised in a memorandum for the disposition of tangible personal property.
The bill clarifies that private agreements made by successors to alter the interests, shares, or amounts to which they are entitled under a will or under the laws of intestacy do not require contractual consideration.
The bill is assessed as having no fiscal impact on state revenues or expenditures, or units of local government. The bill puts into statute the ability of a guardian or conservator to petition the court to act on behalf of an incapacitated person for the dissolution of marriage or legal separation. Under current law, a guardian or conservator does not have the ability to act on behalf of the ward for such a proceeding. The bill extends the responsibility of the guardian or conservator by allowing them to petition the court for such action Additionally, the provisions of the bill establishes ownership of tangible personal property and defines what property is not applicable. Current statute does not specify the ownership of property between spouses in the event one becomes deceased. Therefore, since the bill only expands current statute and clarifies applicable property in the case of a spouse's death, there is no workload increase on the courts and no additional moneys would be expended. The bill would take effect July 1, 1999.