Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Estate Planning Dos and Don'ts Following a Divorce



Divorce is a complex and deeply personal process, and, at Geyer Law, we do all we can to help make the process as painless as possible. We know that, while all our clients can benefit from qualified estate planning advice, there are special issues that need to be considered following a divorce.
Assets
In most cases, spouses in the process of dissolving their marriage no longer wish to have the soon-to-be- ex-spouse inherit their assets. And, when there are children, neither parent wants those kids to be disinherited in the event the other were remarry. What that means is that beneficiary designations will need to be changed on:
  • Wills
  • Employer retirement plans
  • IRA accounts
  • Life insurance policies
  • Annuities
  • Health savings accounts
  • Trusts
Powers of attorney
In most divorce situations, the two parties no longer want to leave health and financial decisions in the hands of the ex-spouse. Documents that need to be amended include:
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney
  • Durable Power of Attorney
Child Custody and Guardianship
Several questions must be fully explored:
  • Does the non-custodial parent wish to (and is he/she fit to) raise the child if the custodial parent dies or becomes incapacitated?
  • What happens if the ex-spouse remarries?
  • Are there concerns that the ex-spouse will not use the support monies for certain purposes such as private school tuition?
Focusing forward
Staying focused on the details of the future, not on the mistakes and hurts of the past, is the best way to defuse feelings of anger and betrayal. Indiana is a “no-fault state”, which means the court will not consider behaviors leading up to the divorce, requiring only that one of the parties believes that the marriage is irreconcilably broken.

Divorce time is by definition, a hard time, no doubt about it. Sound legal counsel from a qualified attorney – and each party needs his/her own lawyer – is needed to navigate all the issues and obtain the best outcomes for everyone involved.

- by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates blog team

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