Changing Your Illinois Estate Plan After a Divorce
DuPage County Divorce Lawyers
Going through a divorce can mean lots of paperwork, emotions, and compromise. The last thing you want to think about as your divorce settlement comes to a close is going to your lawyer and asking to complete more paperwork. Despite your reluctance to spend any more time at your lawyer’s office, doing so right after (or simultaneously during) your divorce can help protect you, your children, your assets, and your future. Consider that your spouse is likely named on most, if not all, of your estate planning documents, including wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. Making sure you execute new estate planning documents with new designations is one of the most important things you can do to help you with your fresh start. A knowledgeable family law and estate planning attorney can assist you not only with your divorce, but with helping you plan for your future after the divorce is finalized.
Estate Planning Documents
Wills are among the most common document that a person may create when they get married, to ensure that their spouse would be their beneficiary, should anything happen to them. Once you decide to divorce, however, you must realize the impact this may have on your assets.
Many designations in estate planning documents will use terms such as “Husband” or “Wife” in lieu of names. This is particularly true in cases where there is a life insurance policy-- changing these documents to reflect new beneficiaries is encouraged even before the divorce is finalized to ensure that your soon-to-be ex spouse does not have any claims, despite the pending divorce.
Powers of Attorney
Aside from wills, powers of attorney are also very important documents to update immediately. Having a “power of attorney” means that you have designated someone else to have the right to do something on your behalf, usually execute documents or make decisions, when you are unable or unwilling to do so. These are most common in making decisions for property, financial matters, and health care.
Your health care power of attorney, especially, should be updated immediately. Otherwise, should there be an accident in the future that leaves you unable to make your own medical decisions, your ex spouse would be likely be designated as the power of attorney and would have to either make a decision or refuse the appointment. Regardless, with things as important as your health care and life-sustaining procedures in question, it is best that you appoint someone you know will make sound decisions on your behalf. You can always update these forms if you change your mind or someone becomes unable or willing to act as your power of attorney.
Trusts made before the marriage may remain in the trust holder’s name after the divorce, depending on the circumstances. However, anything created or earned during the marriage is considered “marital property” and thus, subject to division upon divorce. Trusts allow a third party to hold and regulate assets. The type of trust, it may be revocable or irrevocable—will also determine how it will be dealt with post-divorce. Regardless, it is important to change beneficiaries and pertinent information immediately following a divorce to protect yourself and your future.
Family Law and Estate Planning Lawyers in DuPage County
Whether you have pre-existing estate documents that need to be updated, or if you are wishing to create them for the first time, our experienced Glen Ellyn estate planning attorneys can help you make decisions that will benefit you and your family in the future. At Mulyk Laho Law, LLC, we can handle your estate planning documents before, during or after a divorce. Moreover, we have a team of professionals that focus on divorce law in DuPage County and can help you not only with your estate planning, but can help you navigate your divorce proceedings. No matter where you are in the divorce or estate planning process, we are an experienced law firm that can guide you from start to finish. Contact our Glen Ellyn law office at (630) 852-1100 to learn more about your legal options and rights when considering divorce or updating your Illinois estate planning documents.