Your life plan probably did not include divorce. A divorce typically doesn’t happen quickly, and it’s not unknown for the divorce process to last for several years. When you’re going through a divorce you need to review your estate plan and make sure you are and your loved ones are protected during this interim period before the divorce is finalized. While you are separated and going through a divorce there are some things in your estate plan that you should not change until your divorce is finalized.
1. Don’t Wait to Update Your Estate Plan
If you are in the process of getting a divorce, it’s important to talk about how to protect your loved ones during this interim period. Beneficiaries, health care designations and other legal documents will be enforced until you are legally divorced. If you want to change who will make your end of life decisions, An experienced estate planning attorney can help protect your estate by ensuring that all your estate planning documents and beneficiary designation are properly updated in accordance with Illinois laws.
2. Don’t Change an Irrevocable Trust
If you made an irrevocable trust before your divorce, such as an irrevocable life insurance trust, and your ex-spouse is named as a beneficiary of that trust, you cannot remove your soon-to-be-ex from your trust. If your irrevocable trust specifies your heir is your “spouse” or “wife” or “husband” the trust will go to whoever you are married to when you die.
3. Don’t Ignore Court Orders
Divorce court rulings differ from case to case. While your divorce is being negotiated, court orders may include taking out a life insurance policy with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse as the beneficiary, not changing your beneficiaries on bank accounts or selling assets.
Illinois law allows you to revise your will during your divorce. Under Illinois law, if you get divorced with a valid will in place, your will remains valid even though you are legally divorced from your ex-spouse. State laws vary on changing the conditions of your will before a divorce is finalized, so be sure to consult your divorce attorney to make sure your actions are legal in your state.
After your divorce is finalized, you should meet again with your estate planning attorney to review the best options to protect you and your family’s new circumstances.
An estate planning attorney is an important part of your divorce team. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney at Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard Illinois today at 630-800-0112.