Colorado – What to do when someone dies

Posted by: Sep 02, 2015By Brian Stutheit

The Colorado Bar Association publishes an annual booklet called the Senior Law Handbook.  In the 2015 edition there is a useful chapter by Aaron L. Evans, Esq. entitled “What to Do When Someone Dies: Responsibilities of the Personal Representative and Trustee Under Probate. ” To find the article, the url is

Mr. Evans discusses issues which arise in the ten days after death such as  who should be notified of a death, how to arrange burial or cremation, and how to deal with veterans or social security benefits.  He wisely advises,  “In the period following the loss of a loved one, be careful before accepting any telephone solicitations, and be careful about volunteering personal information about the
deceased to strangers over the phone. You may receive fraudulent invoices, so be sure to
review invoices carefully for validity. Thieves read death notices and obituaries, so avoid
stating the address and other private information about the deceased.”  It is Stutheit & Gartland’s experience that some companies ask for information about an estate as if the companies work for creditors of the deceased, but when pressed those companies cannot prove they represent any legitimate creditors.

The chapter also discusses the duty of a personal representative of an estate. The personal representative has a duty to act impartially in regard to all parties to the estate. You have to treat each person the same. Making a gift to some friend or caretaker out of estate assets or funds might seem a kind thing to do, but one on the heirs could say, “hey, you can’t give away my inheritance.” You have a duty to administer the estate with care, making sure to put the interests of the estate in front of your own interests in the estate.