Tonight's post on what to know about Estate Planning when you are getting
or have gotten a divorce was written by our
Wills, Trusts and Estates Guru,
When you are getting a divorce, it seems like there's no end to the
paperwork. But one task that is far too often overlooked is making an
appointment with an estate planning lawyer. Whether you have already put
together an estate plan with your spouse (now ex) or you've never
gotten that far, NOW is the time to sit down and make critical decisions.
For those who already created an estate plan, the most urgent need is to
make changes to beneficiaries and powers of attorney. If you've listed
your now ex-spouse as a beneficiary on your life insurance policy, for
example, he or she may still inherit those assets from you upon your death.
Even if you've been divorced for 20 years, the name you put on the
beneficiary line can still be enough to send your money to that person.
The law figures that if you didn't change it, you must have meant it.
Life insurance policies aren't the only place you may have your ex
listed as a beneficiary, either. Your Georgia estate planning lawyer will
help you review a variety of accounts, funds, wills, etc. to make sure
that you change beneficiaries to someone more in line with your new life.
Keep in mind, too, that if your soon-to-be ex is still named as your healthcare
proxy or has power of attorney, he or she could very well be put in charge
of making your medical and/or financial decisions should you become incapacitated
while your divorce case is still pending. Yes. She could pull your plug.
That bit of information right there should be enough to send people RUNNING
to their estate planning lawyer's office!
There are other considerations if you have children. Inheritance put aside
for your minor children could actually end up being managed by your ex
the way they want. Instead, Georgia estate planning lawyers will often
recommend that you create a trust that will benefit the children but is
managed by the person you choose.
Things get even more troubling if your ex-spouse remarries. If you do not
change beneficiaries and your ex inherits some of your assets, you would
hope he or she would pass them on to the children you share. HOWEVER,
if your ex dies before their new spouse, all of those assets (the ones
that used to be yours) can go directly to the new spouse. This cuts your
children entirely out of inheriting from you. In fact, if the new spouse
has children, YOUR assets could go to those children instead of yours!
The unfortunate fact is that by the time you've gone through a divorce,
you may feel like you never want to see another attorney again. Still,
you want to protect yourself and your heirs by following through with
a good Georgia estate planning lawyer. At least you will know that we
are absolutely looking out for you!
For more information on the
SIX DOCUMENTS you need to update in connection with your divorce, and the proper timing
for doing so, please contact us today for free information.
Steve is headquartered in our office in Marietta but services all of our
clients throughtout Georgia via our offices in Atlanta, Lawrenceville,
Canton, Gainesville and Savannah.