Family & Estate Planning Lawyer Helping You in Jacksonville
When going through a divorce, there is a lot that you must deal with. One important aspect that many couples forget is that of the estate plan. After the divorce is finalized, your estate plan could require a significant change. During the divorce (which may take several months), the courts will still consider your soon-to-be-ex your spouse until the final decree has been signed and recorded.
If you were to become ill or pass away during the divorce, your spouse would have legal control over your estate, and could be entitled to that property. Therefore, you must protect your assets – as well as your family – by updating your estate plan immediately.
Five Documents to Have Addressed During the Divorce
Contact your estate planning attorney during your divorce and make sure that these five critical documents are updated as soon as possible. Hopefully, you have the luxury of a divorce attorney and estate planning attorney at the same office, so that they can work together to revise documents in your best interest.
- Your Will – If you have created a will during your marriage, you should have a provision in that will that a former spouse no longer benefits from your estate. If your will states that your ex-spouse is still a valid beneficiary after a divorce, then the law would not apply. So, review the provisions of your will, and if necessary, remove your spouse from beneficiary status.
- Your Trust – During the divorce and before the final decree is recorded, if you were to pass away, the trust might allow your soon-to-be-ex to receive your entire estate. Hopefully, your trust has provisions preventing this, but if not, see if you can add a clause that removes the current spouse as a beneficiary during divorce.
- Your Power of Attorney – Most likely, you have named your spouse as the authority in your power of attorney documents. This should be revoked upon the divorce action, but until that divorce action is filed, your spouse has a dangerous amount of power in his or her hands. Therefore, review your power of attorney and any applicable laws. See if your family estate lawyer can adjust it so that your soon-to-be-ex is not in charge of your estate when you are incapacitated.
- Your Living Will – Another issue is the health care directive. Again, you have most likely listed your spouse as your health care agent. Now, it is in your best interest to name a party other than your spouse in your living will.
- Beneficiary Designations – Regardless of what your will says, if your spouse is named as the beneficiary on your life insurance, annuity, pension, profit-sharing or other arrangement that provides benefits, he or she will receive those benefits unless you update the beneficiary designations. Therefore, update them as soon as possible with a new party.
Going through a Divorce? Speak with a Family Law and Estate Planning Attorney Immediately
During your divorce, the last thing you need is to worry about your estate plan. Allow the estate attorneys at Beller & Bustamante, P.L. to assist you during this hard time. With family law and estate planning lawyers in the same office, we can work in tandem to protect your estate, your children, and your best interests while going through a divorce.
Schedule a consultation with our family estate lawyers today by calling us at 904-288-4414 or requesting more information about our services online.