Family law does not operate in a vacuum.
Put another way: Divorcing spouses often adopt a notably targeted mindset during the marital dissolution process. That is, they’re focused on divorced-linked tasks – often a mere handful or so – that they regard as immediate and essential to deal with en route to securing a divorce decree. Certain other matters are construed as peripheral, or not even considered at all.
That is understandable, and certainly something that a proven family law legal team routinely sees. Divorce is a big deal, a seminal and often once-in-a-lifetime event that unquestionably merits close focus on a core group of key matters.
Like fair property division, for example. A desired custody/visitation outcome concerning children. Spousal maintenance, perhaps.
Those are centrally important matters, of course, and an experienced and empathetic family law firm always ensures that its valued and diverse clients fully address and secure optimal outcomes concerning them.
There is often more to consider, though, that is couched in practicalities and forward-looking real-life considerations. That is duly emphasized in one family law legal source stressing that, “Establishing your new life outside of marriage is as much about the future as it is about the present.”
That means this: Your executed divorce details should be construed in the larger context of estate planning, which will likely be materially impacted by a marital split and new developments going forward.
Estate planning concerns for a divorcing Colorado spouse
Consider the following scenario. You and your long-time spouse have just divorced, being the parents of minor children. One of the key reasons you left your former partner was that individual’s gross financial irresponsibility and quick tendency to squander wealth.
You now have sizable assets in place that you fully intend to be used for the benefit of your kids when they become older.
But then you die, and it becomes apparent that no legal steps were ever taken to preclude your ex from assuming financial control over your estate as the surviving parent of the children. Such a result was not remotely foreseen, but there is now obviously nothing that you can do about it.
There is while you are still living. You can cement with certainty your heirs – and not your former spouse – receiving your estate assets. And you can timely take a number of other planning steps as well to promote your best interests and those of select loved ones.
What should be looked at pursuant to a revised estate plan?
The details of what a divorce-linked estate planning update should feature will vary in any given case. Following are a few focal points that often come to the fore, though:
- Will creation or revision
- Guardianship appointment (the selection of a trusted individual is key where young children are involved)
- Beneficiary updates concerning all financial and insurance instruments
- Power of attorney adjustments (again, think of your former spouse potentially stepping in here if you don’t make changes)
- Medical directive concerning health care and life support
That bulleted list simply spells some starting points for planning consideration. Timely and candid discussion with an experienced family law and estate planning team can further flesh out relevant details.