How Divorce Can Affect Your Estate

December 14, 2020

During the complicated process of divorce, people are troubled with issues like what to do with the children, property, and finances. Many things need to be done. However, it is essential to remember and update your will, just in case, anything unpredictable happens to you. This will impact how your estate is distributed.

In this situation, seeking advice from an Albany Divorce Lawyer is the best option to help you go through this incredibly stressful period and move on with your life. An experienced divorce lawyer can assist you in getting your personal will and trusts updated as needed.

Updating Your Will After Your Divorce

In Georgia, after the official approval of divorce, someone is considered a single person and can proceed with restructuring their estate planning documents in any way they want. People wrongfully believe that the former spouse has no longer authorization over their assets. Amendments in someone’s will after the divorce are essential to be made.

In Georgia, divorce does not cancel your will, but your ex-spouse will usually be removed from the list of beneficiaries during the process. In the case of divorce, your ex-spouse is treated as if they were dead. The will from marriage continues to be valid, even after being legally divorced. It would be best if you created an updated power of attorney and living will.

Furthermore, if you plan to update your estate planning documents in Georgia, you must keep in mind the time deadlines.

This article discusses the guidelines that someone can follow in their divorce period.

Before Filing Divorce Update Your Estate Plan

Before you file for your divorce, it is suggested that you revoke or restructure all your documents concerning your estate planning. For someone else apart from your former spouse to make decisions for you about your finances or medical issues, you have to update your living will and financial power of attorney. When a divorce takes years to get finalized, you cannot have severe matters like this pending. You will also have to amend the beneficiaries on other investments, like retirement accounts or life insurance policies.

 In the case of joint trusts with your former spouse, you have to consult your divorce attorney in Albany on whether you should notify your former spouse before it is canceled.

Update Your Will Promptly

You have to update your will in a timely manner; otherwise, your heirs may face serious issues when you die. When your marital status changes and you are either separated or going through divorce procedures, your will needs to be updated and in order.

Failing to do so, anything that you designated to your former spouse will go directly to the next beneficiary in line. Unfortunately, your former spouse will be treated as deceased before you. This will create problems for your heirs when the time comes to allocate your estate.

Choose an Alternative Beneficiary For Your Estate

When you created your will in the first place, you did not have in mind the possibility of divorce. Therefore, most of your belongings logically were listed to be left to your spouse. An alternate beneficiary was not necessary at the time. Leaving your will intestate means that the state will determine who gets what after your death. An experienced divorce lawyer will advise you to designate an alternate beneficiary when writing your will.

Replace or Revise Your Will

When you decide to change your will, you have two options. The first option is to simply destroy the original and revoke it. In this case, there might be a problem. If a copy of it exists, the court could decide that it is legally accepted.

It would be more effective if you wrote a new one from scratch, stating that it supersedes the old one. However, you are not obliged to inform the previous beneficiaries of this change in your will.

Unexpected Circumstances

It has happened before during divorce procedures for people to reconcile. Especially when a divorce period takes a long time, there is also the chance you and your spouse will decide to remarry. In this example, we have to consider unusual circumstances. So, if you remarry, your beneficiary gets reinstated in your will, unless you previously made changes. In that case, you have to amend your choice again to avoid any risk of your estate to be intestate.

Death Before Divorce

Unless you have already revoked your old will, if you die before the conclusion of your divorce, your former spouse will inherit whatever was designated to inherit in the first place.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer

A divorce is a life-changing event. At Joe Durham Law Firm, we will do our best to help you go through this difficult period of your life and protect your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.