Estate Planning When Divorced
Serving Individuals throughout Laurel, MD, and the surrounding areas
Are you now single again due to divorce? Is your ex-spouse still named in old estate planning documents as your decision-maker for health care and financial matters? Is he or she still the beneficiary of life insurance or retirement plans? What else should you be thinking about when estate planning when divorced?
You may have children and even grandchildren. In any event, you need to create (or revisit) your estate plan. Who would manage money for your children if they are minors or have special needs with no plan or an out of date plan?
Did you know the law requires every adult American to make his or her own personal, financial and health care decisions? Now that you are single again, who would make your basic decisions if you are legally incapacitated due to a serious injury or illness?
Unless you legally appoint the decision-maker of your own selection in advance of incapacity, through a Property Power of Attorney (and possibly a Living Trust), then a judge may be required to select a guardian for you. The guardianship process to accomplish this is expensive (it employs at least two attorneys), discloses your private personal and financial information to the public record and is a real hassle for your loved ones. Without a Last Will and Testament (and possibly Living Trust), you give up the right to decide who will stand in your shoes to handle your affairs when you die.
Did you know that in the absence of proper estate planning, your assets may be distributed after death based on “one-size-fits-all” state laws written for people who do not have their own estate plan? Of course, this impersonal estate plan written by state lawmakers may not reflect your own unique circumstances and objectives for your loved ones and assets.
What if you remarry? Well, if you want to risk losing about half of what you have should the remarriage not work out and disinheriting your own children and grandchildren, then do nothing. On the other hand, it is best to go into a new relationship with both eyes open.
In short, you should consider having a legally enforceable premarital agreement inked before you say “I do” on your wedding day.
In a recent University of California study, researchers found that 60% of widowers are involved in a new relationship within two years after losing their wives, while only 20% of widows have a new relationship.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, men are 10 times more likely to remarry after age 65. And the average time before they are remarried is just 2.5 years. When dad remarries a new wife some 20 years his junior, that can trigger all kinds of drama in the family, to say the least.
As you can see, planning for being single again includes planning for any new relationships on the future, while preserving (and protecting) the relationships you already have.
Fortunately, we can help you avoid probate and replace that impersonal, state-written, one-size-fits-all estate plan with the one we design together for your unique circumstances and objectives. We even help you coordinate the beneficiary designations on your life insurance and retirement plans with your estate plan to avoid unpleasant, unintended consequences.