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The Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan After Divorce

 Posted on April 11, 2024 in Estate Planning

DuPage County, IL estate planning lawyerGoing through a divorce is tough, and it can turn your whole world upside down. Through all the emotional turmoil, it is important not to neglect the practical matters, like updating your estate plan. If you have recently divorced, make sure to review and revise your estate planning documents with an Illinois estate planning lawyer who understands how divorce can affect estate plans.

Why Updating Your Estate Plan Is Essential

Under Illinois law, divorce automatically revokes any provisions in your will that benefit your former spouse. However, this automatic revocation does not apply to other estate planning documents, such as trusts, beneficiary designations, or powers of attorney. If you do not update these documents, your ex-spouse may still have control over your assets or healthcare decisions, even after your divorce is finalized.

If you have children, updating your estate plan ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your children are cared for by the guardians you choose.

Key Estate Planning Documents to Review

  • Will: Your will is the foundation of your estate plan. Following a divorce, it is advisable to reassess your will and implement any required modifications to exclude your former spouse as a beneficiary or executor. If you have minor children, consider updating your will to name a guardian who will care for them if both you and your ex-spouse are unable to do so.

  • Trusts: If you have a revocable living trust, you will need to update it to remove your ex-spouse as a beneficiary and trustee. If you have an irrevocable trust, you may need to consult with an attorney to determine if changes can be made.

  • Beneficiary Designations: Many assets, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and bank accounts, allow you to name a beneficiary. Review and update these designations to ensure your ex-spouse is removed and your desired beneficiaries are named.

  • Powers of Attorney: In Illinois, you can create a power of attorney for healthcare and a power of attorney for property. These documents allow you to name someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. After a divorce, update these documents to remove your ex-spouse and name a trusted family member or friend instead.

Contact a DuPage, IL Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning should be carefully done, especially as you go through a divorce. With so many legal intricacies to consider and emotional challenges to navigate, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin. A Wheaton, IL estate planning lawyer can help. Call A. Traub & Associates at 630-426-0196 for a private consultation with a large, experienced, and highly personable team.

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