What to Consider in Estate Planning and Divorce?

Should I Have a Conversation with My Ex-Spouse and Attorney About My Estate Plan?

Generally, most people will not have the estate planning conversation with their ex-spouse or soon to be ex and their attorney for several reasons. First of all, there is an enormous amount of paperwork to be handled when divorcing. The idea of throwing estate planning in the mix seems overwhelming, so usually a conversation about estate planning would not happen with the ex-spouse, and gets put on the back burner. The estate planning conversation can also cause addition problems and issues with finalizing a divorce.

Due to these reasons the estate planning conversation typically is handled individually by your own estate planning attorney. The ex-spouses could make a plan together but that’s a rare occurrence. It’s usually done individually at the insistence of a divorce attorney for the respective party.

At What Stage in the Divorce Process Can I change My Estate Plan?

In a divorce, you can have three stages. You have the pre-divorce, meaning if you are about to file for divorce. In this situation, you have the opportunity to do a lot of planning because you know the divorce filing is inevitable.

When divorce petitions are filed, which is the second stage, the courts put standing orders in place. The standing order put rules in place that restrict the parties from disposing of assets and they can no longer move assets to other accounts. The reasoning behind these restrictions is the courts do not want people hiding money, canceling insurance, and other acts that could detriment the other spouse or children. So, it is important to make a plan beforehand to ensure you do not violate the court’s standing order.

If you have not filed a divorce petition, you have the ability to make changes to your estate plan because there are no rules imposed on you at this point. But once you file the divorce petition you are now subject to the rules and restrictions of the court.

Most people do not think about the need to get their estate plan in order before they file for divorce due to most are unaware of the negative consequences that could occur without proper planning and the restrictions imposed upon them during the divorce process. Before filing for divorce a person should take time to analyze their estate plan and assets to determine if there are changes they would like to be made.

The final stage of the divorce process is when the couple has been legally divorced and their assets are legally divided. At this point, they are then free to make any changes they want to their estate plan. From here you can prepare a more in-depth estate plan with an estate planning attorney.

To get information about the Things To Consider In Estate Planning And Divorce, call the law office of Brian M. Douglas and Associates, LLC for an initial consultation at (770) 933-9009 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.