What Happens to Your Estate If You Pass Away During a Divorce?
If you are in the process of getting a divorce and haven’t changed your estate plan that lists your soon-to-be-ex-spouse (or pass away without a will or trust), you run the risk of them inheriting from your estate because you’re still legally married. The law presumes that you’re married because there has been no official divorce decree made, the law basically assumes your intentions at the time you died because you hadn’t changed your estate plan.
Short of actually taking action and doing some planning, you are at the mercy of whatever planning exists at the time of your passing. Or if there is no estate planning in place your estate will be distributed according to intestate laws which would provide a portion of your estate to your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Because in the eyes of the law without a final divorce decree you are still legally married.
What Are the Advantages of Consulting with an Estate Planning Attorney During the Process of Divorce?
There are a number of advantages that can be derived from consulting with an estate planning attorney during the divorce process. Once you have made the decision to move forward with a divorce it is important to plan ahead. If you start early on this, you’re getting a head start on something that you would inevitably have to do once your divorce is finalized. The tangible benefits that go along with revising your estate plan before the divorce process begins is that you’re protected if something was to happen during the divorce (which could take years depending on your situation). As unlikely as it may seem that something may happen to you, there is always a chance. For these reasons, our firm always recommends updating your estate plan when going through a divorce.
Read about some Other Issues to Consider in Estate Planning and Divorce, or call the law office of Brian M. Douglas for an initial consultation at (770) 933-9009 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.