What You Should Know about Separating Estate Plans After a Divorce

A divorce lawyer helping a person separate and update their estate after divorce.

Going through a divorce isn’t easy. There are several legal matters that you have to consider before you file for one. While planning for the future is the top priority for couples filing for a fault or no-fault divorce, it’s also imperative to sort out your estate plans before or immediately after a divorce petition is filed.

Once your divorce is filed and finalized by the court, don’t delay separating all your relevant estate planning materials. Also, it’s vital that you update your estate plan after you marry someone else or if you have children from a second or prior marriage.

Why is it important to update your estate plan?

If you don’t separate your estate plan after a divorce, your former spouse or their immediate family still has the right to take on a large portion of your estate after your death, leaving a smaller portion for your family members or children.

Even if you don’t want your former spouse to have a portion of your estate, it may happen if you don’t spell out your intentions and wishes in your estate plan. The majority of American states don’t allow former spouses to inherit real estate under a Last Will and Testament. However, they can still inherit other assets in the estate plan.

An Example to Help You Learn 

A woman in New York passed away in 2010 after she divorced her husband a few years earlier. Her estate plan (before her death) stated that her spouse should inherit her home, along with all other assets.

She had further specified that her father-in-law be the secondary beneficiary to her residential property. While New York’s law kept her former husband from taking over the home, her father-in-law could still inherit it as the second beneficiary.

Her children claimed to the probate court that their mother put forward another will, in which she removed her father-in-law’s rights on her property. However, her children were never able to find the second will, and as a result, the court ruled in favor of her former husband’s father.

What to do after your divorce is finalized?

After your divorce, here are some things you must do:

  • Update all the documents that are relevant to estate planning
  • Create a new will and redo the old one
  • Provide your family members and children with a copy of the new and the updated will
  • Find another probate attorney to help with estate planning and make sure your attorney works for your best interests.
  • Update all your bank accounts, individual retirement accounts, trusts, annuities, and life insurance policies to remove your former spouse as a beneficiary

 

For more advice on separating your estate and updating documents relevant to estate planning after a divorce, get in touch with the best probate attorney Queens or probate attorney Brooklyn.

Furthermore, if you’re looking for an experienced divorce lawyer Brooklyn, divorce lawyer Queens, or any other area in NYC, feel free to reach out to the law office of Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. today!

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