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How does divorce affect an existing estate plan in Colorado?

A Colorado spouse going through a high asset divorce has a lot to think about. Asset valuation and division can be particularly complex and contentious. Another issue a divorcing spouse should be aware of is the effect of the divorce on an existing estate plan.

Under Colorado law, a dissolution of marriage automatically revokes certain provisions in a will or trust prepared before the divorce. Once final, the divorce eliminates any bequest of property to the person's ex-spouse, or any relative of the ex-spouse who is no longer a relative of the person who signed the will or trust.

A divorce in Colorado also automatically revokes any appointment of the ex-spouse as personal representative, executor, trustee or guardian. This revocation also applies to relatives of the ex-spouse who are no longer related to the person signing the will or trust.

Married couples in Colorado typically own their home as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. A divorce automatically severs the joint tenancy and converts it to a tenancy in common.

Notwithstanding these automatic revocations, a newly divorced spouse will probably want to review their estate plan to make sure it still complies with their wishes.

The effect of divorce on one's estate plan is just one of many issues a person should think about when ending a marriage in Colorado. When significant property interests are at stake, every aspect of the property's ownership should be understood when negotiating a property settlement. A family lawyer who understands all the potential issues in asset division can provide important guidance in this regard.

Source: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 15-11-804, accessed Jan. 12, 2016

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