Lincoln & Wenk, PLLC

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Estate planning and separations: When should you update your plan?

| Apr 6, 2021 | Wills, Trusts, And Estate Planning

If you’re getting separated from your spouse, you may be looking into changing your estate plan. Changing your estate plan, or at the very least reviewing it, is important to making sure that it reflects what you want to have happen if you cannot take care of yourself or pass away.

During a separation, you may decide to take your spouse off your life insurance, to remove them as your Power of Attorney or to change what they receive if you pass away. Remember, though, that your divorce decree may address some asset division decisions that will impact the estate plan and that you should include.

Is it a good idea to change your estate plan during your separation, or should you wait?

It isn’t a bad idea, but you may want to wait until your divorce is finalized. You could update some aspects, such as your Power of Attorney or health care proxy whenever you want, but if you’re going to put assets into a trust or alter the distribution of your assets, it may be better to wait until you know how your divorce is going to work out. If you draw up property division information that alters from the estate plans you’ve just changed during the separation period, then you might end up having to get back into touch with your attorney to rework your estate plan all over again. For that reason, waiting until your divorce is finalized may be beneficial, at least in terms of what you do with your assets upon death.

A legal separation is a good way to start separating your assets in preparation for a divorce, and this will also give you time to start thinking about how you want your estate plan to manage your assets in the future. Once you’re in a position to alter those documents, then you can talk to your attorney about moving forward with those changes.

Your attorney can give you more information on setting up trusts or methods of protecting your assets if you’re separating from your spouse, so you know what to expect in the future.

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