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Gov. Ritter Signs Designated Beneficiaries Act into Law

Gov. Ritter Signs Designated Beneficiaries Act into Law

New Law Makes Affordable and Accessible Estate Planning Tool Available to All;
Protects Gay and Lesbian Couples, the Elderly, and Low-Income Coloradans

For Immediate Release
Contact: Stacey Proctor

DENVER - A broad coalition of supporters thanked Governor Bill Ritter today for signing into law House Bill 1260, the Designated Beneficiaries Act.

"We applaud the Legislature and Governor Ritter for taking action and providing an easy-to-use, low-cost estate planning measure to Coloradans," said Mike Drake of the Colorado Sr. Lobby. "This will help ensure that senior citizens who have worked a lifetime to earn benefits can keep them while designating someone to look after their affairs if they are in a medical crisis or at the end of their life."

"Special thanks go to Rep. Mark Ferrandino who sponsored the bill in the house and to Sen. Jennifer Veiga, the senate sponsor," said Mindy Barton, spokesperson for Equal Rights Colorado, one of 26 members of the coalition that supports HB 1260. "Without their leadership and the bipartisan support of their colleagues on this issue tens of thousands of Coloradans would be left out in the cold."

The new law provides an inexpensive, convenient mechanism for Coloradans to choose the person who would care for them in medical emergencies and provide for loved ones in the event of their death. It allows people to designate visitation rights in hospitals and nursing homes; make medical and end of life decisions; and designates property inheritance in the absence of a will.

The Designated Beneficiaries Act will help people who can't afford legal services for estate planning; people who face financial penalties that prevent them from remarrying (such as seniors who would lose benefits from their deceased spouse if they remarried); and Coloradans such as gay and lesbian couples who are prevented from marrying under Colorado law.

"The law provides an economical way for anyone to take responsibility for their future and plan their estate," said Marijo Rymer, Executive Director of the Arc of Colorado. "Estate planning can be expensive and daunting for persons with disabilities and their families, but the Designated Beneficiaries Act makes it as easy as filing a document at the county clerk's office."

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community also applauded the Governor and the Legislature for providing a simple way for them to take care of those they care about.

"The Designated Beneficiaries Act makes it easy and affordable for anyone to decide who handles their medical affairs; who takes care of their estate and how their property is divided in the event of death. This will help members of the GLBT community immensely," said Carlos Martinez, Executive Director of the GLBT Community Center of Colorado.

HB 1260 was supported by a broad coalition including:

9to5, National Association of Working Women - Colorado
ACLU of Colorado

Citizens Project
Colorado ACORN
Colorado AIDS Project
Colorado Coalition of PFLAG Chapters
Colorado Community Health Network
Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights
Colorado Progressive Coalition
Colorado Stonewall Democrats
CORA (Colorado Organizations Responding to AIDS)
Interfaith Alliance of Colorado
Jefferson Unitarian Church Legislative Action Team
Lambda Community Center
Latina Initiative
League of Women Voters of Colorado
New Era Colorado
Peace, Liberty & Justice Task Force, Jefferson Unitarian Church
People For the American Way
PFLAG Boulder County
Senior Lobby
The Anti-Defamation League, Mountain States Office
The Arc of Colorado
The Bell Policy Center
The Gender Identity Center of Colorado

Members of the coalition wish to thank Gov. Ritter and these legislators who voted in favor of the Designated Beneficiaries Act.

Rep. Dennis Apuan
Rep. Debbie Benefield
Rep. Edward Casso
Rep. Lois Court
Rep. Kathleen Curry
Rep. Mark Ferrandino
Rep. Randy Fischer
Rep. Jerry Frangas
Rep. Sara Gagliardi
Rep. Cheri Gerou
Rep. Gwyn Green
Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst
Rep. Joel Judd
Rep. John Kefalas
Rep. Andy Kerr
Rep. Jeanne Labuda
Rep. Claire Levy
Rep. Don Marostica
Rep. Tom Massey
Rep. Beth McCann
Rep. Buffie McFadyen
Rep. Anne McGihon
Rep. Mike Merrifield
Rep. Karen Middleton
Rep. Joe Miklosi
Rep. Sal Pace
Rep. Cherylin Peniston
Rep. Jack Pommer
Rep. Diane Primavera
Rep. Kevin Priola
Rep. Joe Rice
Rep. Jim Riesberg
Rep. Ellen Roberts
Rep. Su Ryden
Rep. Christine Scanlan
Rep. Sue Schafer
Rep. Judy Solano
Rep. Nancy Todd
Rep. Edward Vigil
Rep. Paul Weissmann
Speaker Terrance Carroll
Sen. Bob Bacon
Sen. Betty Boyd
Sen. Morgan Carroll
Sen. Joyce Foster
Sen. Dan Gibbs
Sen. Rollie Heath
Sen. Mary Hodge
Sen. Evie Hudak
Sen. Jim Isgar
Sen. Moe Keller
Sen. Ken Kester
Sen. John Morse
Sen. Linda Newell
Sen. Chris Romer
Sen. Paula Sandoval
Sen. Gail Schwartz
Sen. Brandon Shaffer
Sen. Abel Tapia
Sen. Lois Tochtrop
Sen. Jennifer Veiga
Sen. Al White
Sen. Suzanne Williams
Sen. Pres. Peter Groff

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