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After careful review of the COVID-19 environment, the law firm of Chayet & Danzo, LLC, will be conducting in-person appointments in our offices on a limited basis and with strict social distancing protocols.

During this time, our team will continue to diligently work remotely on all client matters and will maintain communication through email, telephone, and video conferencing. Our main office number, (303) 355-8500 will continue to be answered during our normal business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Fridays.

This decision to have limited appointments in-office while following strict social distancing protocols is in the best interest and health of our team, clients and community.

We will continue accepting new clients during this period as well as fully servicing our existing clients.

We wish you and your family continued health during these unique and challenging times.

Compassion, talent and dedication: guiding colorado families and Their Trusted Advisors During Times of Need

Revisit named beneficiaries on accounts payable upon your death

Part of a comprehensive estate plan is coordinating your account beneficiary designations with your will, trusts, gifting and other estate planning techniques. In other words, when you do your 2020 estate plan checkup, you and your attorney should sit down and look comprehensively at the wider picture of your wealth that includes life insurance, annuity and retirement account beneficiaries that you have designated.

Account payout without probate

Generally, the transfer of money payouts from these accounts to named beneficiaries happens outside of a probate court proceeding to certify your will or to determine your heirs through state intestate succession laws that apply when you die without a will. The ease of transfer without a court process is part of why these accounts are attractive. But you should make sure the money that transfers to named beneficiaries this way goes where you want it to.

For example, if a named beneficiary has died and you have not named a successor beneficiary, the proceeds from the account are likely to go to your estate, where the court will order it distributed through the probate process.

Events that should trigger reconsideration of beneficiaries

It is easy to overlook beneficiary updating, but when a major life event occurs, it might mean you will want to consider changing who the recipients of your account proceeds will be. Examples of events (impacting you, your potential beneficiaries or your family) that should trigger beneficiary review are:

  • Disability or incompetence
  • Divorce
  • Death
  • Birth
  • Change of employment
  • Marriage
  • Relationship problems like estrangement
  • Beneficiary problems like high debt, substance abuse, gambling or shopping addiction
  • Distrust of a new spouse or a child of a beneficiary
  • And others

Part of the overall plan

Looking at beneficiary designations is important to be sure not only that they are up to date according to your current wishes, but also that they make sense considering your overall estate plan. For example, you might leave life insurance proceeds to one of your children as the named beneficiary, but for your other child, you prefer to put money into a special needs trust because they have disabilities that require you to protect their eligibility for government benefits.

This is only an introduction to a potentially complex topic, depending on your circumstances. Discuss the details with an experienced estate planning attorney.


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