Those who are in the midst of divorce proceedings or planning a divorce should consult a Colorado estate planning attorney to discuss any implications of the life change. Probate courts do not consider the circumstances surrounding a couple’s separation, and consider the couple married, until a judge signs a final divorce decree. As such, individuals must amend their documents in a timely manner, to avoid unintended consequences.
Understandably, those involved in divorce proceedings may become overwhelmed with the time, energy, and logistics that necessitates this life change. However, individuals should prioritize reviewing and modifying their estate plans so that the changes are enforceable in court. There are many components to a complete estate plan, and concerned parties should address each facet.
Specifically, parties should review their:
- Health care proxy
- Power of attorney
- Prenuptial and Postnuptial agreements
Individuals designate health care proxies to make medical decisions on their behalf. The designator should trust the proxy to respect their personal wishes regarding health, illness, and death. A divorce may change one’s attitudes towards these critical decisions, and a modification may need to occur. A person may want to change their power of attorney because this designation gives broad powers to another person on their behalf.
Under Colorado law, a divorce decree automatically removes an ex-spouse as a beneficiary to a will or trust. However, that means that assets will automatically pass to the contingent beneficiary. Individuals should verify that they want their assets to pass to the contingent beneficiary, or amend their documents to reflect their desired beneficiary. Finally, in some narrow circumstances, a person may change the terms of their prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. However, typically, the parties must agree to the changes.
Individuals must understand that they do not need to wait until their divorce is final to update their documents. It is best to review and revise documents as soon as possible, especially because divorce proceedings may result in a temporary injunction against changes to estate documents. Finally, an attorney can help a party amend guardianship and custody designations in a person’s will. This is especially important if a party does not wish for custody of their children to pass to their ex-spouse in the event of incapacitation or death.
Contact a Colorado Estate Planning Attorney
It is important that individuals ensure that their estate plan is comprehensive and accurately represents their wishes. The Boulder estate planning attorneys at the Braverman Law Group can help you create a complete and effective estate plan. We provide our clients with clear explanations of complex estate planning issues, allowing them to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. We handle all aspects of Colorado estate planning, including wills, trusts, asset protection, special needs trusts, trust administration, guardianships of minor children, pet planning, gun trusts, modifications, and all parts of probate proceedings. Contact one of our attorneys at 303-800-1588 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your estate planning needs. You can also reach out to us through our online form, and one of our attorneys will be in touch.