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Review Your Estate Plan Following a Divorce

Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning lawyerWhen you get divorced, virtually your entire life is affected. Your relationship with your children changes, your living arrangements are different, and even your outlook on the future is likely to evolve. A divorce can also have a dramatic impact on the viability and the appropriateness of your existing estate plan. If you have recently gone through a divorce, it is a good idea to sit down with your lawyer and go over the details of your will, trusts, and any other estate planning tools you have in place.

Changes in What You Own

One of the most important reasons to update your estate plan after a divorce is the potential change to the property that comprises your estate. According to Illinois law, marital property must be divided equitably between divorcing spouses, which means that you probably own less now that you did when you were married. If your estate plan only makes general references to the property in your estate, the existing terms may be sufficient. Many estate plans, however, contain provisions for specific items or assets such as a particular vehicle or the family home. In the wake of your divorce, you may no longer own these assets, thus making an update necessary.

Named Beneficiaries

The Illinois Probate Act specifies that if you sign a will that names your spouse as a beneficiary of your estate and you get divorced, the law will treat the situation as if your spouse died before you. While such a provision in the law is helpful in most cases, it does not settle the matter entirely. Following your divorce, you must now decide who will get the portion of your estate that was intended for your spouse. Conversely, if you and your spouse parted on good terms, you may wish to keep him or her in your will. To do so, you will need to draft, sign, and execute a new will after your divorce is finalized, otherwise, the revocation provision in the law will automatically take effect.

Agents and Executors

Illinois law also provides that a divorce effectively removes your ex-spouse from any appointed positions of fiduciary or other responsibilities, including executor of the estate and power of attorney. If you get divorced with such a plan in place, the law will, once again, treat the plan as if your spouse died on the date of your divorce. Therefore, you will need to select someone else to fill the roles originally given to your spouse. If you still trust your ex-spouse to fulfill the obligations, you can keep him or her as your choice, but you will need to reaffirm your decision by drafting new documents.

Call Us for Help

If you have questions about how your divorce will affect your existing estate plan, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning lawyer. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2113&ChapterID=60 

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