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Woodland Park Family Law And Estate Planning Law Blog

Making informed divorce decisions

Ignorance about Colorado laws and realities on ending a marriage can keep lead to bad decisions or keep spouses in an unhappy marriage. Clearing up misconceptions about divorce can help with informed decision-making.

First, courts do not always award child custody to the mother. The best interest of the child determine which parent receives custody. The spouse who is the main caretaker is more likely to obtain custody to avoid disruption in the child's life.

A prenup may have added value for those getting remarried

Many people overlook the protection a prenuptial agreement could provide because they view this document as unromantic. If you were previously married, you may not have signed a prenup, and if you are preparing to enter your second marriage, you may consider skipping the prenup again. However, not having a prenup can carry much more risk in a second marriage than in a first marriage.

Before your first marriage, you probably owned few assets and had no children. However, you have probably accumulated valuable assets over the years and you may now have children from your first marriage. You may not want to consider the possibility of divorce, but the consequences could be severe if your second marriage does not work out.

Planning for the death of a spouse in Colorado

The death of a spouse is devastating, but inevitable. Without proper estate planning, legal and financial problems can aggravate grief and problems. In addition to drafting documents, such as wills, spouses should take other steps.

Both spouses should be involved in financial decisions and planning. If the deceased spouse handled all the couple's financial affairs, the surviving spouse may be unable to deal with the most routine matters, which may even include paying for their spouse's funeral.

Long-term care planning is vital

Long-term care in Colorado is not a luxury because it will be needed by an estimated 70 percent of people over 65-years-old. Families must prepare for paying for nursing home or in-home care as part of their long-term planning.

Inability to undertake daily activities because of physical or cognitive reasons usually require long-term care. These activities include evaluation, continence, toileting, bathing, eating and dressing. Inability to do two of these tasks usually triggers the need for assistance and long-term care policies.

Passing on Colorado digital assets

Estate planning has traditionally dealt with inheritance or preserving physical assets, such as a house or family heirlooms. Wills and other important estate documents now must deal with the reality that people transact their business and other parts of their lives online. Addressing digital assets helps assure that family members can access domain names, email and social media, electronically stored media, records and passwords to important accounts.

There are several obstacles to gaining access to important information and assets, especially if a person kept most of their records online. First, family members may not access accounts without having current passwords. Encryption may protect digitally stored data, but prevent access. State and federal laws prohibit unauthorized access or forbid online account services providers, such as Google and Facebook, from granting access to photos, email messages or other information.

Can adults decide their future medical treatment?

Some decisions should be made in advance, just in case a person is unable to make them in the future. Proper estate planning helps fulfill this role. This planning should include living wills and other medical directives, which set forth a person's wishes on the care they will receive at the end of their life.

In Colorado, a living will is also known as a declaration for medical treatment. These documents address whether medical providers should administer, withhold or withdraw life-sustaining procedures when a person has an incurable condition or is unconscious or incompetent. A life sustaining procedure is defined as CPR, defibrillation, administering medications, surgery and any procedure that prolongs the dying process.

Protecting retirement from divorce

Ending a marriage may have serious and long-standing financial consequences, especially if the spouses have unequal income or assets. However, divorce may have the greatest financial impact on retirement savings unless some precautions are taken.

Spouses who have retirement savings that are roughly close in value may agree to simply keep their own accounts. However, a spouse with less money in their account may try to negotiate for part of their former spouse's retirement savings.

Protecting assets in the digital age

Estate assets are not restricted to the contents of safety deposit boxes and files. While drafting wills and engaging in other estate planning, digital assets must be dealt with.

Estate planning is designed to manage and preserve assets when the owner is alive and to control distribution of those assets after that person dies. It traditionally covered physical and financial assets, such as real estate, jewelry, vehicles, furniture, cash and securities.

How does child custody work in Colorado?

Child custody is an important element of divorce law. When going through a divorce, protecting the best interests of a child are always right at the top of the list.

Doing so requires a handful of difficult choices including deciding which parent the child will live with, who gets to make important decisions such as education or health and the approach to visitation for the parent of the child that that does not have physical custody, which refers to the parent who cares for the child on a day-to-day basis.

Long-term care expenses are in our future

A person turning 65 today has a 70% chance of needing long-term care services. With insurance premiums escalating and paying for nursing home and other care becoming more challenging, experts recommend financial planning. This should start when people are in their 50s.

Median yearly costs are alarming. These include $48,000 for care at an assisted care facility, $89,000 for a semi-private room in a nursing home, $50,400 for a home health aide and $48,000 for homemaker services.

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