Divorce can have a significant impact on most parts of a person’s life, and many people focus on the aspects that directly affect their day-to-day, such as child custody, child support, and division of property. However, many other critical transitions need to occur during and after a divorce that may not necessarily be included in a couple’s divorce plan. One of the most important processes a person should engage in is reviewing and updating their Colorado estate plan.
Under Colorado’s intestacy laws, divorce decrees result in the automatic revocation of the ex-spouse as a beneficiary or fiduciary in any trust or will. Basically, this means that if a testator does not update their estate planning documents after a divorce, their assets will go to the contingent beneficiary instead. Additionally, a divorce or annulment will revoke any designations that the testator left to the ex-spouse’s relative, except children that the two parties share. It is important to note that Colorado law does not evaluate each couple’s post-divorce relationship or intent, so individuals should take steps to revoke any old wills and create a new document.
Issues often arise when one party dies or becomes incapacitated during divorce proceedings. Although many other types of cases survive the death of a party, Colorado divorces do not survive the death of one spouse. Generally, the statutory framework assumes that the object sought during divorce proceedings was accomplished by the death of one of the parties. Therefore, there is no “marriage” that a divorce decree may govern. However, even though death ends a divorce action, there may be other issues that need to be addressed, such as child custody, property division, and visitation by family members.
Despite common misconceptions, individuals do not need to wait until a final divorce decree to update their Colorado estate plans. Individuals should review and revise their estate plans during the divorce proceedings. Otherwise, if a spouse dies before the divorce decree, then the assets may still go to the surviving spouse. However, individuals should consult a Colorado estate planning lawyer because some situations may limit a spouse’s ability to make changes to marital property and assets during divorce proceedings.
Hiring a Colorado Estate Planning Attorney During Divorce Proceedings
If you or someone you know is considering a divorce, awaiting a pending divorce decree, or have recently been divorced, you should contact the Braverman Law Group to discuss your Colorado estate planning needs. The attorneys at our firm understand the life-altering toll a divorce can have, and we work to address critical issues that may impact a person’s financial future and future wishes. We provide our clients with personalized attention, clear explanations, and effective execution of important estate documents. Additionally, attorney Diedre Wachbrit Braverman has recently been accepted for membership in the National Association of Divorce Planners. This enables her to work with her client’s divorce teams and recommend new members as they are needed by divorcing or divorced clients. We are continuing to provide diligent and safe representation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Contact our office at 303-800-1588 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our office.