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Trusts & Estates Law/would the govt. keep assets with no executor


I'm 65 years old (Colorado), with no property but do have some assets (mutual funds). I had a will drawn up many years ago and designated a national charity (PETA)to be the beneficiary of all my assets. But the person I designated as executor has died. If there's a will without an executor, would my assets still eventually get to the charity or would the govt. just keep it all, which I don't want to happen. I have a niece out of state who wouldn't be able to be executor, and there's no one else for me to ask, but is there anything she could do at the time to ensure the will is carried out, without actually having to be the executor? I don't mind if the will goes through probate and gets delayed, as long as the money eventually goes to the charity. Thanks

Hi, Lee. Thanks for your question. Your Will itself may say what happens if your Executor dies before you or is otherwise not available. If so, the court (assuming there is probate court in Colorado) will likely appoint an Executor according to what your Will says (eg. one of your relatives). If your Will doesn't say anything, the court can consider other family members, but may also consider disinterested 3rd parties. Your estate can't be administered through probate court until an Executor is appointed.

You may want to reconsider your niece or other family member, and then make an update to your Will. Once you name your Executor, that person then carries out your instructions to give your assets to your selected Charity. -Kris  

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Kris Paden


I will be pleased to answer any of your estate planning questions on topics such as wills, trusts, nomination of child guardians, how to avoid probate, how to reduce or eliminate death taxes, durable powers of attorney, probate, conservatorships, special needs child planning, and elder law. I can also assist you with obtaining life, disability an long-term care insurance. I look forward to hearing from you.


Twenty (20) years as an attorney, and training in Estate Planning at the Law Office of Diedre Wachbrit, APC, Westlake Village, CA.

CA State Bar, Pepperdine Center for Estate and Gift Planning, Tarzana Chamber of Commerce, Tarzana Community & Cultural Center, Los Angeles Bar Association, San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Sonoma County Bar Association

The Transnational Lawyer, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law Legal Journal.

Graduated in top 1/3 of class from U.C. Berkeley;
Graduated in top 10% of class from UOP, McGeorge School of Law.

Awards and Honors
Undergraduate: Traynor Honor Society
Law School: Phi Delta Phi Legal Society

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