When it comes to divorce, Colorado law is designed to protect the wishes of each former spouse. Practically speaking, this means that any former spouse listed in your estate planning documents is no longer legally valid upon divorce. Clauses that list former spouses as beneficiaries or fiduciaries are revoked, and former spouses that are listed as personal representatives are treated as though they are deceased. Unless the estate planning documents explicitly state otherwise, divorce in Colorado automatically overrides estate planning documents made before the divorce.
Because of this, it is important for couples to discuss their estate planning wishes before divorce is finalized. If, for example, one or both members of the couple want their spouse to remain a beneficiary even after divorce, they must specify this in their estate planning documents. Conversely, if the spouse is listed as the only beneficiary while divorce is pending, and one of them passes away before the divorce is finalized, then the surviving spouse will still get all of their former partner’s assets.
In all of the above scenarios, foresight and communication between spouses can help protect their assets even in the case of divorce. To discuss your wishes in these scenarios, or to discover your other options in case of divorce, call and make an appointment today.