If you are going through a divorce, you will need to pay special attention to your estate plan. The end of your marriage will affect your estate planning efforts in several key ways, all of which you will be responsible for dealing with. Speaking to your estate planning attorney in Colorado as soon as you file for divorce is important because you will need to know the steps you should take to protect your interests. In particular, you’ll want to pay attention to the following post-divorce estate planning issues.
A lot of married couples choose their spouses as their medical representatives when they create advance medical directives. For example, if you have created a medical power of attorney in Colorado, you’ve probably chosen your spouse as your health care agent. Should you become incapacitated, your spouse will be able to make medical decisions for you.
However, once you get a divorce, you will probably need to change this appointment. Though you can still choose to have your former spouse act as your agent, you will need to update your advance directive if this is no longer your choice. These documents do not automatically change in the event you get divorced, so you’ll have to make sure to make the changes as soon as possible.
The state of Colorado, and all other states, gives spouses the legal right to inherit from each other. If one spouse should die, the remaining spouse automatically inherits a portion of the deceased spouse’s estate.
These spousal inheritance laws no longer apply after you are divorced. Unfortunately, many people create last wills and testaments while they are married that they do not bother to change after they are divorced. These wills are usually created with the automatic spousal inheritance rights in mind. When you fail to update them after divorce, this can cause problems with your estate.
Another important area to consider after your divorce is the beneficiary designations of your transfer-on-death assets. For example, if you have a life insurance or retirement account that allows you to name a beneficiary of your choice, you will need to change this designation if you have selected your former spouse as beneficiary. Of course, you can still leave that person as your intended beneficiary, but many people decide to change this nomination after they go through a divorce.
Other Divorce Concerns
There are several other issues you’ll need to consider in post-divorce estate planning in Colorado Springs. Talk to you or estate planning attorney for a comprehensive explanation of what you need to do during, and after, your divorce so you can be sure that your estate plan is as good as you can make it.
If you’d like to know more about estate planning and asset protection, consider signing up for an upcoming free workshop. The next Estate Planning Workshop will be held in the Colorado Springs and Denver area and January, so visit our seminars page for details and registration information.