As is the case elsewhere, the lives of many Illinois married couples are tightly intertwined. Not only do they have numerous joint assets and debts, but they also have estate plans that rely heavily on the involvement of each other. For this reason, it would be a good idea to make changes to an estate plan in light of a divorce.
Many couples list each other as executors, trustees and agents in wills, trusts, advance directives and powers of attorney. While life is good, this makes sense. A person’s spouse is usually who he or she would trust the most to handle his or her affairs in the event of incapacitation or death. However, once the parties are divorced, each of them would most likely not feel comfortable with the other ex-spouse holding such prominent fiduciary positions in their estate plans.
In addition, many people list their spouses as the beneficiaries of life insurance policies, retirement accounts and other accounts in which they can designate a beneficiary. This makes sense during the marriage since it gives the surviving spouse access to much needed funds more quickly than if he or she had to wait for the conclusion of a probate. In light of a divorce, each party may want to change those designations.
Fortunately, estate-planning documents can be changed to reflect a change in a person’s circumstances. With everything Illinois residents need to focus on during a divorce, it can be easy to forget about making the above and other changes to an estate plan. For this reason, they may want to consider working with a family law attorney who handles more than just divorce.