Getting Divorced? It’s Time to Update Your Estate Plan
There are many painful disputes to be resolved in a divorce case. Dividing assets, allocating debt, negotiating child custody arrangements, settling on alimony and child support, and other painful considerations can make former couples weary of dealing with the legal system. Despite this, it is important for divorcees to update their estate planning. Without the protections of updated documents and legal tools, assets can go to a former spouse by default—even after a divorce has been finalized. Attorney Kenneth P. Carp has decades of experience in executing effective estate plans for Missouri residents. He can help you protect your assets after a divorce.
Problem Areas in Estate Planning Documents
Financial arrangements are often the primary reason a person executes estate planning documents. Through trusts, wills, financial powers of attorney and other estate planning documents, assets are distributed as you see fit. These documents often allocate a significant portion of a married person’s assets to their spouse. After a divorce, it is important to update these documents. If not, a former spouse can still be entitled to the full amount of assets which were allocated to them in the original documents.
It is also important to update estate planning documents in order to prevent default rules of law from applying to your estate. The spouse of a person who dies without a will is entitled to a large share of the estate. Thus, if a divorce is not finalized, or has technical defects, a former spouse may still be able to claim that he or she is entitled to a default share of the estate. By clearly stating your intentions in estate planning documents, former spouses can be stopped from using the default rules of inheritance to their advantage.
For many married people, a spouse is given great authority in estate planning documents. Spouses are often named as the executor of a will, the trustee of a trust, and the receipt of powers of attorney for important decisions regarding healthcare, finances, or living arrangements. This decision-making authority leaves a spouse in a position of great power in the event that you are incapacitated, or upon your death. Most divorced persons will not wish their former spouse to have this authority after their divorce is finalized. It is, therefore, important, that estate planning documents be updated in order to designate this authority elsewhere.
There are just a few of the many problems which can be presented by an outdated estate plan. A person’s estate planning needs will be determined by the specific nature of his or her assets and liabilities. It is therefore important to seek legal advice about your particular situation.
Comprehensive Estate Planning With an Experienced Missouri Attorney
There are many ways to take control of your financial affairs, health care decisions, and living arrangements. Experienced Missouri estate planning attorney Kenneth P. Carp can help you access the estate planning tools that are right for you. Call (636) 947-3600 or write us online today to schedule your consultation. Our law firm will help protect your wishes so that you can take control of your future.