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Change of Beneficiary

Grand Junction Estate Planning Attorney

A change in your family situation such as a divorce, the death of a family member or birth of a child or grandchild may result in the need to amend your Will , Trust or beneficiary designations. While a divorce "cancels" your previous Will or Living Revocable Trust , other changes may require that you take affirmative action such as filling out and filing a change of beneficiary form. And, since it is essential that these changes be made correctly, you should retain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable Estate Planning attorney to advise you in this regard.

Beneficiary Changes Resulting From a Divorce

In Colorado a divorce or a legal separation automatically revokes your former spouse's right to be the beneficiary of your life insurance, Will, Living Revocable Trust or retirement plan - unless the divorce decree awards your ex-spouse a portion of your retirement plan. In addition, your ex-spouse is disqualified from being your Agent under a Power of Attorney or from serving as Personal Representative or Trustee of your estate.

Other Beneficiary Changes

Unless the need to change a beneficiary stems from a divorce, you will need to execute the proper documents in order to make a change. For those with a Will this means executing a Codicil to the Will. In the case of a Living Revocable Trust, you will need to amend the Trust. And if you have a beneficiary designation on a bank account, an insurance policy or an investment account, you will need to execute a "change of beneficiary form."

In making these changes you need to make sure that the asset is titled in a manner that is consistent with what is expressed in your Will or Trust. For example, if your house is held in joint tenancy with your son, but your Will or Trust states that the house will go to your daughter, the house passes to your son. Simply stated, how the asset is titled "trumps" the terms of your Will or Trust.

Finally, many clients wind up making changes to their Will or Trust because they didn't provide for any additional children or grandchildren when the original Estate Planning document was drafted. The need for this change can be eliminated by merely stating in the document that "children" also refers to children who are born or adopted after the Will or Trust was drafted.

Estate Planning Lawyer in Grand Junction

The Law Offices of James A. Littlepage, a Grand Junction Estate Planning firm, has been helping families with Estate Planning issues since 1993. Mr. Littlepage has prepared over 2,000 estate plans and recently was recognized with a 2015 and 2016 Five Star Estate Planning Attorney℠ award. In 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 he received the Five Star Wealth Manager℠ award, as seen in 5280 and ColoradoBiz magazines. For assistance with your estate plan please contact our Grand Junction office for a complimentary 30 minute consultation for estate planning and probate.