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Be mindful of estate planning issues in divorce

Many different issues can impact a person’s decisions when it comes to planning an estate. Illinois residents currently considering divorce may especially want to consider the points contained in this post, as this is one aspect that can significantly affect the estate planning process. The good news is that there are support networks in place to assist those in need of guidance regarding estate plans as they intersect with divorce.  

One important topic pertains to health care decisions. When a person is getting divorced, he or she may wish to update an existing estate plan if the soon-to-be former spouse is listed as a designated voice of authority to make health care decisions in life-threatening situations. The same goes for those empowered to make financial decisions. Something might happen before a divorce is finalized, leaving the spouse in line to make such decisions if the estate plan was not already updated.

In many states, filing for divorce places an automatic stay against changing beneficiaries regarding life insurance or retirement funds. It is wise to seek clarification of Illinois law ahead of time to determine what parts of an estate plan may be altered during divorce. Many people choose to update their estate plans regarding their final wills and what their spouses stand to inherit. While it may not be possible (or advisable) to completely disinherit a spouse, wording can be changed so the spouse receives only assets to which he or she is entitled to in divorce.  

A concerned spouse may also wish to find out whether he or she may amend a revocable trust during divorce. If an Illinois couple signed a prenuptial agreement, it may impact the estate planning process as well. To avoid problems down the line, many people ask experienced attorneys to review their estate plans and to offer guidance as to any implications a divorce may have on an existing plan.  

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