Naperville Lawyer Discusses Divorce and Estate Planning

divorce, Naperville estate planning attorneyAs an experienced estate planning attorney, I frequently remind clients of the many advantages to creating an estate plan. Although a shocking number of Americans do not have estate plans in place, drafting a will, trust, or or other estate planning document can greatly benefit you as well as your loved ones your loved ones. Not only does estate planning put you in charge of your healthcare, property, and finances, having estate plans also saves your family burdensome decision-making responsibilities.

Complications with estate plans can arise, however, when an individual gets divorced. If you are considering ending your marriage and have already started the estate planning process, it is important to learn about how divorce can affect your will and other estate plans.

Your Last Will and Testament

The most basic estate planning tool is a last will and testament. A will allows you to decide how your assets will be divided among heirs after you pass away, who should care for your children if you pass before they are grown, and more. Drafting a will is not just about material possessions. It is also a way for you to communicate your final wishes to loved ones. When an individual dies without a will or other estate planning document in place, the deceased person’s surviving family and friends are forced to guess what their loved one would have wanted.

If you have already created a will and you plan to divorce, the document will most likely remain legally-enforceable. However, any provisions which directly refer to your ex-spouse are automatically cancelled. Illinois law treats an ex-spouse the same as a spouse who has passed away when it comes to enforcing the provisions of a will. Keep in mind that this only applies to your ex-spouse specifically. Any directives referring to in-laws and stepchildren are not automatically nullified and must be addressed separately if you wish to change them.

You Should Update Estate Planning Documents After Divorce

Although some parts of your estate plans will automatically be invalidated after divorce, it is still a good idea to reevaluate your estate plans after the end of a marriage. For most people, divorce has a significant impact on their financial circumstances, property, business interests, and more. You will likely need to make updates to reflect your new life circumstances.

You should also make sure to change beneficiaries on any private accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance, and investments as these designations do not automatically change after divorce. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you update your estate plans in a way which best accomplishes your personal and financial objectives

Contact a Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer

Divorce will have a major impact on your estate plans. For help with updating a will, trust, or guardianship, or for other estate planning needs, contact The Gierach Law Firm. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule a confidential meeting with a DuPage County estate planning attorney today.

 

Sources:

Illinois Probate Act of 1975

The Balance