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Do Not Overlook Estate Planning Documents During Divorce Process

Posted on in Estate Planning

estate planning and divorce, Illinois Estate Planning LawyerJust as June is typically referred to as the wedding month, January is quickly earning the moniker of divorce month. Statistically, there is a glut of divorce filings which occur on the first Monday of January, and those filings continue to occur on a steady pace for the rest of the month.

A person who is going through the process of divorce typically struggles with decisions such as child custody issues, property and asset division, as well as many other legal—and emotional—issues. Given all these upheavals, it could be very easy to overlook one very important issue which a divorcing person needs to address—the updating of estate planning documents.

If you currently have a will drafted, it most likely names your soon-to-be ex-spouse as an heir. There is also a good possibility that your spouse is also the executor of your estate, which means he or she controls whether or not your last wishes will be kept.

Even though you are going through a divorce, the breakup of your marriage does not change your will and whether or not your spouse inherits your property and assets, unless you make that legal change. This is also true for couple who have completed the divorce process and are no longer legally married. If you do not change your will, your ex-spouse will inherit the same assets and property you wanted him or her to have when you were married.

This is also true for any other property, financial accounts, and insurance policies you have. If you are legally divorced, make sure you remove your ex as beneficiary of those items. If you are currently going through the divorce process, make sure to check with your divorce attorney before making any changes.

For people going through a divorce who do not have a will, the state of Illinois decides who will get your property. If you only have a spouse, but no children, then your spouse will inherit everything. If you have children, then your spouse will inherit half, and your children will inherit the other half. Therefore, if you currently do not have a will, it is important to have one legally drafted in order to prevent your spouse from inheriting any of your property or assets.

If you are currently considering a divorce, contact and experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney to ensure that your estate is fully protected in the event something should happen to you before your divorce is finalized.

Sources:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/divorce-filings-jump-by-one-third-in-january-2015-01-05

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60&SeqStart=3700000&SeqEnd=5000000

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