Empowering Heirs: Colorado Revised Statute 15-12-912 and Changing Gifting Instructions

In the realm of estate planning and inheritance, the Colorado Revised Statute 15-12-912 stands as a powerful tool for heirs seeking to adapt their loved one’s final wishes to changing circumstances. This statute grants heirs the ability to alter a decedent’s gifting instructions through a written agreement, ensuring flexibility in an otherwise rigid legal process. Let’s delve into the details of this statute, explore how it works, and review a compelling example of heirs who harnessed its potential to make a meaningful change.

Understanding Colorado Revised Statute 15-12-912

Colorado Revised Statute 15-12-912, often referred to as the “Modification of Dispositive Provisions by Written Agreement,” provides a unique avenue for heirs to adapt the distribution of a deceased person’s assets. The statute acknowledges that life circumstances can change dramatically after an estate plan has been established. It recognizes that flexibility is vital to ensuring the decedent’s intentions are met in spirit, even if the specifics of their wishes need to be adjusted.

Key Provisions of the Statute:

  1. Requirements for Modification: To make changes to a decedent’s gifting instructions, heirs must enter into a written agreement. This agreement should clearly outline the modifications and be signed by all interested parties.
  2. Limitations: Not all aspects of an estate plan can be altered through this statute. Certain modifications are prohibited, such as changing the identity of the beneficiaries or altering the essential nature of the trust or estate.
  3. Consent of Affected Parties: All parties who would be materially affected by the changes must consent to the modification. This ensures that the wishes of those involved are respected.

A Real-Life Example: The Smith Family’s Story

The Smith family’s case is a poignant illustration of how Colorado Revised Statute 15-12-912 can be a lifeline in times of unexpected change. The Smiths, a close-knit Colorado family, found themselves facing an extraordinary situation.

Meet the Smiths: John, the patriarch, had established an estate plan that primarily focused on providing for his two children, Emily and Daniel. John had always dreamed of passing on his cherished mountain cabin, nestled in the Rockies, to Emily and Daniel equally. However, life had other plans.

Emily, a talented artist, had been living in New York City pursuing her dream career. Meanwhile, Daniel, an environmentalist, had become deeply involved in a conservation project near their family cabin. As the years passed, Emily’s visits to the cabin became infrequent, while Daniel’s passion for preserving the land intensified.

John’s sudden passing left the family at a crossroads. His estate plan, which had once seemed perfect, now felt like an obstacle. Emily and Daniel recognized the importance of preserving the cabin’s natural beauty, aligning with their father’s values.

Using Colorado Revised Statute 15-12-912, Emily and Daniel engaged in a thoughtful conversation. They realized that by modifying their father’s estate plan, they could better honor his legacy and accommodate their evolving priorities.

Together, they drafted a written agreement to change the distribution of assets. They decided that Emily would relinquish her claim to the cabin, allowing Daniel to inherit it fully. In exchange, Emily would receive a larger portion of the financial assets from the estate, aligning with her needs in the city.

This written agreement not only conformed to the statute’s requirements but also reinforced the bond between Emily and Daniel during a challenging time. They respected their father’s intentions while adapting to the changes life had thrown their way.


Colorado Revised Statute 15-12-912 is a testament to the state’s commitment to ensuring that estate plans remain adaptable and true to the decedent’s spirit. The statute empowers heirs to make changes when necessary, helping families like the Smiths navigate life’s unpredictable twists and turns.

The Smith family’s story serves as a compelling example of how heirs can use this statute to preserve their loved ones’ legacies and find creative solutions to complex inheritance situations. It reminds us that, in the world of estate planning, compassion and flexibility can go hand in hand, ensuring that final wishes are not just fulfilled but cherished.

If you have questions regarding estate planning, probate, or civil litigation contact Chapman Law, PLLC to discuss your situation.

This blog is intended to provide general information and, therefore, should not be treated as legal advice. You should contact a qualified attorney for questions about legal issues.