You are going to die! That shouldn’t be a surprise, but, sadly, when any given person dies is, often, a complete and very heart-wrenching surprise for their loved ones.

If you don’t have a will, you won’t really die intestate. Every state has probate laws which cover any person who dies “intestate”. Don’t let the state (judges who probably never met you) make decisions on your estate or about your children. Colorado divorce law doesn’t cover estate planning, so many people forget this vital step in that process.

 

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Estate planning usually involves four vital documents:

  1. The Last Will and Testament state how your property will be divided, names an executor to oversee that process and can include naming legal guardians for your minor children.
  2. A Power of Attorney (POA) designates an agent to speak for you if you become unable to speak for yourself. POAs can be limited to healthcare or financial matters or may cover all decisions.
  3. A Living Trust transfers your assets to a trust under the control of a trustee — you. When you die, control passes immediately to the successor trustee named in the trust document, without the delay of probate.
  4. A Living Will or Advanced Directive specifies your wishes regarding end-of-life measures. In short, it tells your doctor when or if to pull the plug.

 

When Do You Revise Your Estate Plan?

Anytime you experience a major life change. That doesn’t mean when a divorce becomes final, that means the day your decision to divorce become firm. While legally married (even if legally separated), your spouse is your legal next-of-kin and the law assumes that’s the person you want making decisions on your behalf. You may need to:

  1. Name a new executor for your will and designate the legal custodian or guardian of your children. If you don’t, your ex could reassert their parental rights.
  2. Issue a new power of attorney to make decisions in case of incapacitation.
  3. Name a new successor trustee to take over control of your property.

Your soon-to-be ex-spouse probably isn’t the person you want making these decisions. Even if the divorce will be amicable, things happen, people’s feelings change, and, in divorce situations, emotions run high. Sometimes, they just run away, so get somebody outside of the situation.

 

Walker Wright and Associates is a full-service family law practice that has served Centennial, Colorado, families for more than 20 years. Don’t wait, call us and let us help you keep your divorce from impacting your estate’s security.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

 

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