When Change Is In The Air: Divorce And Estate Planning

Law Blog

When a divorce is in your near future, the list of issues to address can seem endless. For those who've had the foresight to create an estate plan, an upcoming divorce should prompt the need to reexamine your plans. Changes in marital status probably mean changes in your estate plans as well, so read on to read more.

Don't Delay Making Changes

As soon as you are certain of the divorce, make an appointment to meet with your estate attorney. Depending on your current arrangements, you might find yourself in an uncomfortable position if something should happen during your separation and afterwards. For example, most people just naturally designate their spouse to be in charge of their estate and to inherit and control the bulk of it. In some cases, total power over your affairs could be placed in the hands of your soon-to-be-ex if you should become incapacitated or die before you have a chance to make changes. You will need to take a fresh look at your will, life insurance policies, and other estate plans to ensure that they still reflect your wishes and needs.

If the Divorce Is Already Final

Even if the divorce is final, take action and review your estate plan. Since estate law can vary by state, the way a divorce affects a will and other plans can vary. In some states, a divorce automatically invalidates a will, and in other cases, the will stands as written until you make changes. You may also need to consider whether or not you still wish to consider your ex-spouse's children from another relationship in your plans. In some states, you must make changes to exclude those children if you wish to do so. Even if you decide to leave property to those children, it's probably best to ensure that the provisions are unaffected by your divorce.

If Your Estate Plan Includes a Trust

There are many different types of trusts, but estate plans commonly use either revocable or irrevocable trusts. Trusts are similar to wills in many ways, but state laws that commonly dictate how spouses are treated in a will are of no factor with a trust. For example, a will might specify that the estate goes to the spouse upon the death of the other spouse. Trusts are different, and any provisions that don't specifically address the spouse by name is unlikely to be enforceable. Revocable trusts can be changed at any time, but irrevocable trusts must be completely canceled and recreated.

Contact a law office like Abom & Kutulakis LLP today for more information. 


22 January 2019

Business Law Basics: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

When I started my first small business, I had no idea how much I really didn’t know. I was fully prepared to deal with customers, sell product and even handle complaints and returns. What I wasn’t aware of was that there is so much more to it. I was lacking the legal expertise to protect the company and myself. I wanted others to benefit from my experience, mistakes and lessons learned, so I started this blog. From employment law to the legal business contracts you’ll have to sign when you form partnerships, business law is complex. I hope that the information here will help you to be better prepared when you start your business so that you’ll know when you need to call an attorney and when you can handle things yourself.