The link between family law and estate planning

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2020 | Estate Planning | 0 comments

Having been told many times about the importance of estate planning, Albany residents have likely updated or created them when they got married. This means they likely added their spouse as beneficiaries on their healthcare or life insurance plans and included them in their will. While the creation of an estate plan was a very important first step, it is not the last step that couples take. One of the crucial times an estate plan needs to be updated is when the couple divorces.

Estate planning documents to update after divorce

Healthcare proxies and power of attorneys are perhaps the first documents spouses want to change after their marriage ends. Most people do not want their ex-spouse to be making important healthcare choices for them and no longer want them to be accessing their financial accounts, especially if it has assets in only one spouse’s name. Most likely, the previous power of attorney has to be revoked and a new one created.

Similarly, the will should be updated, including executors of estates and alternative guardians. Trust documents may also have to be revisited to determine if they can be changed and who manages the money for minor children.

What does the spouse inherit?

It is important to know that most states do not allow one party to disinherit their spouse completely from their estate. Doing so might allow the disinherited spouse to contest the will and might tie up the estate for a long time. Therefore, it is good to know what estate planning documents can be changed and how much they can be changed.

When couples are going through a divorce, they are likely going through a tumultuous time. It can be difficult keeping track of all the family law and estate planning issues they should be considered, which is why having an experienced attorney guide you through the process can be helpful.