On October 10, 2015

Since 2009, the Designated Beneficiary Act (DBA) in Colorado has been allowing two unmarried people to legally endow each other with certain rights, benefits and protections regarding estate affairs and health care decisions, particularly in the event of incapacitation or an emergency situation.

Because the DBA is complex – and because many people may be unaware of how this Act can benefit them, below we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about the Colorado Designated Beneficiary Act.

Important Answers about the CO Designated Beneficiary Act

Q – Who can be a designated beneficiary?

Here are some important answers about the CO Designated Beneficiary Act from an experienced Denver estate planning attorney.

Here are some important answers about the CO Designated Beneficiary Act from an experienced Denver estate planning attorney.

A – Unmarried partners who meet the following requirements can typically be designated beneficiaries (i.e., legally enter into a Designated Beneficiary Agreement):

  • They are at least 18 years of age.
  • They are of “sound” mind (i.e., legally competent to be a party to a contract).
  • They are not already named as a designated beneficiary for another Agreement.
  • They have not been forced or coerced into the Agreement.

Q – What issues should be covered in Designated Beneficiary Agreements?

A – In addition to covering some fundamentals (like the names and contact information for each designated beneficiary), these Agreements should also generally deal with the following issues:

  • How certain rights or protections are to be granted or withheld by the Agreement
  • The date on which the Agreement will take effect.

Here, it should be noted that, in order for these Agreements to officially take effect, they must be notarized and submitted to the County Clerk and Recorder (along with the proper fees).

Q – Are there any legal documents that would take priority over a Designated Beneficiary Agreement?

A – Yes, certain valid legal documents can supersede Designated Beneficiary Agreements. These documents can include (but are by no means limited to):

When entering into a Designated Beneficiary Agreement, both parties are usually required to disclose any knowledge they may have of existing documents that would or could supersede the Agreement.

Q – Can I revoke one of these agreements after putting it in place?

A – Yes. These Agreements can be revoked by:

  • Filling out and submitting a notarized Revocation of Designated Beneficiary Agreement (submitting it to the same County Clerk that enacted the Agreement to be revoked)
  • Getting married
  • Being involved in a valid common law marriage in Colorado

Q – What if a designated beneficiary passes away?

A – When one party to a Designated Beneficiary Agreement passes away, the Agreement will become void. However, the surviving party can still exercise rights granted under the Agreement by, for instance, taking on the role of personal representative for the decedent’s estate.

Contact a Denver Estate Planning Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

For experienced help devising a Designated Beneficiary Agreement or a comprehensive estate plan, contact an experienced Denver estate planning attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC.

Call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Estate Planning, Trustees, Executors & Fiduciaries