There are many reasons and situations that require an update to your estate plan. Divorce is one of the most common and potentially catastrophic situations. Unfortunately, it is also easy to overlook or forget. There are many loose ends to tie up once the divorce process is complete, and with more to manage, estate planning can easily slip through the cracks. Unfortunately, if something does happen to you before you have made changes to your estate plan, assets may not go to the people and places you had hoped. Do not let this happen to you. Learn what and when you should update in an estate plan after divorce.
Changing Your Beneficiaries
If you have a 401K, IRA, or other retirement plan, the beneficiary listed on your policy should be checked upon completion of the divorce. Of course, you may have to split some of your savings with your former spouse, but the remaining amount should go to you. If you do not want the remainder to go to your ex upon your passing, and he or she is listed as the current beneficiary, it is important that you change this in your policy. Alternatively, if you wish your spouse to be listed as a trustee for your children, ensure the policy and your other estate planning documents reflect this wish.
Updating Your Powers of Attorney
If you are like most people, you probably have your spouse listed as your power of attorney (the person that acts and makes decisions for you in the event of incapacitation). Now, it is possible to keep your spouse as your power of attorney, but few divorces end quite that amicably. Instead, you might want to consider naming a close friend, a sibling, a parent, or an adult child. Make sure they are someone you can trust to carry out your wishes.
Updating Your Will or Trust
If you have a will or trust set up, you may need to make some changes to it after the divorce. Under Illinois law, provisions in your will or trust that refer to your spouse are rendered void when your divorce becomes final. The law treats the situation as if your spouse died before you did. However, the law is completely silent on inheritances and appointments involving your former in-laws or those with you associated because of your spouse. You will need to change those provisions on your own. Whatever your situation, an attorney can help.
Contact Our Lombard Wills and Trusts Lawyers
At A. Traub & Associates, we understand that lives and families change. Our team is dedicated to respecting your wishes and protecting your assets, and we can assist you with an update to your estate plan after divorce. Learn more by scheduling a confidential consultation with our DuPage County estate planning attorneys today. Call 630-426-0196 for an appointment.