Estate Planning Changes after a Divorce

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, marriage, insurance policies,With so many issues to consider in a divorce, from property division, to child support, to spousal maintenance, separating spouses may forget to think about their estate and estate planning documents. However, spouses should take specific estate planning changes after a divorce in order to ensure that their ex-spouse no longer has rights to anything after the separation.

Changes to the Will

First, spouses should review their will. Most married couples designate their spouse as the main beneficiary of their will, either giving all or the majority of their estate to their spouse. Many divorcing spouses do not want their soon-to-be ex-spouse to inherit any of their estate. Of course, spouses that are currently going through a divorce have property that is still combined, which will most likely be divided equitably. However, spouses can rewrite a will to protect themselves during the divorce and into the future.

Spouses should change the will to designate a new beneficiary. This will keep the ex-spouse from inheriting any separate property upon death during the divorce, and all property upon death after the divorce.

Additionally, if spouses do not get around to changing their will, according to Illinois law, the state will treat this as if the ex-spouse has preceded the other spouse in death.

Lastly, if spouses do change their will prior to divorce, if one dies before the divorce is finalized, Illinois does allow a spouse the opportunity to challenge the will and possibly get a portion of estate, to which he or she may not have been entitled had the divorce gone through. However, with proper planning, this portion can be minimized if not eliminated.

Other Beneficiary Designations

Not all property in an estate goes through a will. Life insurance or pension beneficiary designations are not designated in a will, but are stated in the policy themselves. For example, when a life insurance policy is taken out, the policyholder must designate who will be the beneficiary of that policy. Barring any changes, when the policyholder dies that beneficiary will receive the money (if that person has not died). This beneficiary can only be changed by contacting the insurance company. The beneficiary cannot be changed in a divorce decree or in a will; this can only be done by contacting the insurer directly

 Contact a Family Law Attorney for Help with Your Divorce

The experienced Aurora divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. can advise you on your divorce and estate planning to make sure that your wishes are upheld now and in the future.  Please contact us today for a consultation. We can explain to you the various estate planning options available to you, and help guide you through your divorce from your spouse.

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