Going through a divorce is an emotionally charged and challenging process. Amid the whirlwind of legal proceedings, contacting an estate planning attorney might not be at the top of your to-do list—but it should be.
A divorce, often referred to as dissolution of marriage, can stretch over several months, sometimes even years. During this period, it’s vital to reassess what would happen to your assets, or even yourself, should you become incapacitated or pass away before the divorce is finalized.
What Happens If You Don’t Update Your Estate Plan?
Without an updated estate plan in the face of a looming divorce, your soon-to-be-ex may still be entitled to everything outlined in your existing estate plan, or as decided by the courts if no estate plan is in place.
For example, if your ex-partner holds your healthcare proxy, they would have control over your medical decisions, potentially without considering your best interests. Similarly, if they have power over your finances and you become incapacitated, the outcome may not be in your favor.
Shared Trusts and Inheritance
Matters can get complicated if you and your spouse are co-trustees on various trusts or accounts. In case of your incapacitation, your spouse could access, use, or even sell properties you wouldn’t want them to have access to. They could even take out loans without your consent.
Or, if you have inherited or are set to inherit assets from your parents and pass away before the divorce is finalized, your inheritance could pass directly to your estranged spouse.
The Impact on Minor Children
For those with minor children, an outdated estate plan can lead to unintended consequences. Without an updated plan, the courts will likely place your ex in charge of any money or other property left to your children.
Protecting Your Interests: Work With an Estate Planning Attorney
As you navigate through a divorce, it’s prudent to consult with an estate planning attorney. They can provide crucial advice on your vulnerabilities, helping you revoke appropriate documents within court-mandated timeframes and contact institutions to ensure they’re aware of these changes.
If you’re filing for divorce, don’t overlook the importance of updating your estate plan. Our experienced estate planning attorneys are ready to help protect your interests, ensuring that you’re not caught off-guard in this challenging life transition.
Contact us today for support and advice tailored to your family’s situation.
This article is a service of Miller & Miller Law Group. We do not just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.
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