How Getting Married Affects Your Will

How Getting Married Affects Your Will

A few weeks ago, I posted about how getting divorced affects your will, but it’s not just divorce that can affect your will. Getting married can also have an effect.

In Colorado, surviving spouses have certain rights when it comes to their spouses’ estate, despite what the deceased spouse’s will may say. The two most notable rights are the elective share and the family allowance.

Because Colorado views marriage as a partnership, the State protects spouses from being entirely disinherited by the other. Spouses are entitled to a portion of the probate estate, called the “elective share”.  Receiving the elective share is not automatic, however. The surviving spouse must assert the right no later than nine months after his or her spouse dies or within six months after the deceased spouse’s will is admitted to probate, whichever comes later.

During the administration of the estate, which can take some time, the surviving spouse is also entitled to receive funds from the estate to help support his or herself and any dependent children. This entitlement is called the “family allowance” and is meant to provide financial assistance for basic necessities while the estate works its way through probate.

If you wrote a will before you were married and have not updated it since you may want to consider reviewing your will with an attorney to ensure it still meets your goals in light of the statutory rights your spouse now has. If you have questions about a common law marriage or are looking to end yours affordably,

If you have questions about your will or are looking for an affordable, flat-fee estate planning lawyer, schedule your consultation today.


This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems.

Lauren Lester is an affordable family law, estate planning, and probate lawyer licensed in Colorado.