Colorado law provides that when a surviving spouse is disinherited by or receives little under the terms of their deceased spouse’s will, the survivor has the right to take an elective share of the estate instead of what the will provides. Basically, and from a public policy standpoint, the spouse’s elective share is a legal vehicle to provide support for a spouse whose deceased spouse left them little or nothing.
Colorado probate law provides a legal remedy for a surviving spouse when the other spouse dies with a will executed before the marriage that does not provide for the surviving spouse. In May, the Colorado Court of Appeals decided that a surviving spouse was not eligible to take an omitted spouse share of her deceased husband’s estate because he had named her the beneficiary of $4 million in life insurance proceeds and $410,806 in retirement benefits. They also had owned $52,000 in money accounts jointly.
Many people have heard of the recent phenomenon of “döstädning” — Swedish death cleaning. The idea is that a person should sort through and pare down their possessions in anticipation of death so that family will not have to do it.
According to a new CNBC article, 17 percent of divorced or widowed people marry again, citing the U.S. Census Bureau. Interestingly, the remarriage rate has increased only among people 55 and older.
When a person passes away, he or she usually leaves behind not only assets, but also valid debts and liabilities. At our law firm, we sometimes represent creditors trying to collect debts that survive the deaths of the deceased people who became liable for those debts during their lifetimes.
At our law firm, we provide estate planning advice and services to Colorado clients at all levels of wealth, but for those at upper tax brackets, it is important to evaluate if and how federal gift and estate taxes could impact choices to make lifetime gifts as well as estate planning choices to minimize tax liability.
Today we will talk about what a Colorado personal representative does to administer the estate he or she has been appointed to handle. Last week, we talked about the fiduciary duties of a personal representative, including duties of loyalty, care and impartiality toward the deceased, heirs and beneficiaries, the court, creditors, government authorities, interested parties, creditors and involved professionals.
For those getting a divorce, a beneficiary designation on a life insurance policy is not usually top of mind. And for that reason, states including Colorado, have passed laws that an ex-spouse beneficiary does not receive life insurance proceeds after a divorce unless there was an affirmative designation after the divorce.
With any Colorado estate that requires probate court review, a final accounting summarizes receipts and payments during the estate administration process and remaining assets to disburse to heirs. The Colorado Judicial Branch provides standard forms that can help with organization.
Giving strategies are as varied as the family. And while lifetime giving has tax advantages, it is often about more than tax planning.