October 22, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The importance of a careful post-divorce estate plan analysis---
Article provided by Riefberg, Smart, Donohue & NeJame, P.C.
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With all the chaos and tension of a divorce, it is easy for some things to slip by the wayside. The car might not get much-needed maintenance, the lawn could grow longer between cuts, and the laundry may pile up before the washing is done. Regardless, before, during and after a divorce, there are very important things that must be settled, including child custody, the division of marital property, the fair allocation of joint debts and spousal maintenance amounts (if applicable).
Something equally important, that many divorcing spouses forget about when there are other things vying for their immediate attention, is to keep an eye on the long-term financial and healthcare picture. Decisions made preceding and immediately following a divorce could have a huge impact on even the best laid estate plans. It may be necessary to revise or redraft important estate planning documents like wills, trusts or powers of attorney once the dust settles.
First things first
If you already have a settled estate plan, the time right before or during a divorce is not the best time to make changes. Changing beneficiaries, refinancing properties and removing your spouse's name from accounts is generally not permissible and may lead to serious adverse consequences in court.
The best time to make these changes is after the divorce with the guidance of an experienced estate planningattorney.
For those without comprehensive estate plans, a divorce might have less of an impact on their long-term wishes. While it is advisable for everyone to have a proper estate plan, for some people it could actually work out better in the long run to begin working on it after their divorce. It could save them time and effort that would have been spent revising or reworking preexisting provisions.
Looking to the future post-divorce
It is important to note, however, that many of the nation's divorcees do already have settled estate plans. This is particularly true given the increased rates of so-called "gray divorce" (couples in their 50s and 60s are divorcing at much higher rates than have been seen in the past) and the higher divorce rates for subsequent marriages. For those people, it could involve much more effort to ensure that their final wishes are met. In fact, it could involve starting from scratch to remove all references of their former spouse from numerous estate plan or business succession planning documents.
Finding the right path for you
If you want to ensure that your last wishes are understood and have the best chance of being followed, you need an inclusive, comprehensive estate plan that can adapt to substantial changes in your life (like a divorce, remarriage or the death of a beneficiary, to name a few). To learn more about the types of documents that are best for your unique financial situation, speak with an experienced estate planning attorney in your area today.
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