The divorce process can be one of the most challenging experiences of a person’s life. Even if you and your spouse are on relatively amicable terms, the actual legal process of dissolving your marriage is likely to be more taxing than you initially expected. Every divorce case is unique, and finalizing your divorce is likely to feel like the start of an important new phase of your life. However, finalizing a divorce in the Midwest can also raise subsequent legal concerns that you will need to address promptly.
Life can be unpredictable, and a comprehensive estate plan can provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind when it comes to potential financial complications resulting from your unexpected death. If you recently divorced and have an estate plan in place, it’s vital to consult an estate planning attorney to help you make necessary revisions.
Since your life has likely changed dramatically in response to your divorce, the terms of your current estate plan may no longer apply. If anything were to happen to you before you adjust your estate plan, this can cause major legal problems for your surviving family.
Core Issues in Midwest Divorce Cases
Every divorce entails different concerns for the divorcing spouses. The two most contentious issues in the majority of Midwest divorce cases are property division and child custody, both of which can generate additional legal complications for the spouses. Your recently finalized divorce order could include terms and conditions regarding property division, spousal support, child custody, child support, and much more.
It’s vital that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities under your divorce order and abide by them at all times. Failure to do so could lead to contempt of court and other problems. If you believe your ex has violated your divorce order in any way, you have the right to raise your concerns with the court and seek an appropriate response. The terms of your divorce order are likely to entail long-term financial agreements between you and your spouse.
Once you have your divorce order in hand, you should take time to review your estate plan once you have a firm understanding of your new situation following your divorce. You’re likely to find that some elements of your estate plan may no longer apply or require extensive adjustment to accurately reflect your and your ex’s new circumstances.
Potential Problems Caused by Outdated Estate Plans
The purpose of an estate plan is to limit uncertainty for your loved ones after your death, ideally in a manner that allows them to avoid protracted probate proceedings. A comprehensive and regularly updated estate plan can ensure your property is distributed to your desired beneficiaries after your death, and it’s possible to customize an estate plan in other ways as well.
When it comes to beneficiary designations, if you recently divorced in the Midwest, your spouse is likely still listed as a primary beneficiary of your estate. They may also be listed as the primary beneficiary of various accounts, such as your retirement account through your employer or any government pensions or benefits you receive. While you may have addressed some of these issues in your divorce, you will need to revise your estate plan itself to ensure it reflects these changes. If you do not, your ex-spouse may have a valid claim to the contents of your estate after your divorce.
If you have young children, your estate plan likely includes your preferences regarding custody and guardianship. Depending on the reason for and nature of your divorce, you may need to adjust elements of your estate plan to reflect your new custody and guardianship preferences, ensuring your estate plan continues to serve your child’s best interests if anything happens to you.
An estate plan may simply be rendered entirely unenforceable due to the scope of a divorce’s effects. In this situation, it fails to complete its intended purpose of streamlining the estate administration process and helping the surviving family avoid probate. If you recently completed a divorce in the Midwest, it’s vital to connect with an estate planning attorney you can trust to help you revise an existing estate plan or create a new one that accurately reflects your new circumstances.
Q: Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for a Divorce in the Midwest?
A: Hiring legal counsel isn’t strictly required for divorce in the Midwest, but legal counsel you can trust is an invaluable asset during dissolution proceedings. Your attorney can help you make more informed decisions throughout your divorce. Even when you account for the cost of hiring them, your attorney can significantly improve the outcome of your divorce in various ways.
Q: Do I Need a Lawyer to Create an Estate Plan?
A: It’s technically possible to write up your own last will and testament or use software to construct the framework of an estate plan. However, ensuring it is legally enforceable is a more challenging matter. While the average person may have an idea of how they want to distribute their assets to their family after death, an experienced estate planning attorney can help them address more complex and commonly overlooked factors and create a more robust plan.
Q: How Soon Should I Revise My Estate Plan After Divorce?
A: It’s a good idea to have an attorney review your estate plan alongside your divorce order as soon as possible after finalizing your divorce. While adjusting to life after divorce can be very challenging, life is unpredictable. It’s best to ensure your estate plan provides the peace of mind you expect from it just in case anything unexpected happens to you.
Q: What Happens If My Estate Plan Is Contested?
A: Despite our best efforts to make a comprehensive estate plan that covers as many eventualities as possible, there is always a chance for disputes to arise in any kind of estate administration. In the event there is any contest to your estate plan, your loved ones will need to resolve these issues in probate.
The right attorney can help you make more informed decisions about your estate plan after divorce. Reach out to a Midwest divorce attorney if you need legal guidance in adjusting your estate plan after recently finalizing your divorce.