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Recently Divorced? Remember to Change Your Estate Plan

 Posted on January 14, 2023 in Estate Planning

hyde park estate planning lawyerMajor changes in relationships often bring changes to other, equally important parts of life. Marriage, divorce, and death are some of the most significant life events and all three have the potential to change the way we organize our property and financial planning. While marriage and death are often planned for, divorce often is not. Furthermore, the highly emotional and bureaucratic nature of divorce makes it easy to forget to handle other practical financial concerns, especially if you are exhausted after dealing with ongoing legal issues. However, taking care of your estate plan, including the way you manage your real estate, is essential. Failing to do so can mean accidentally leaving your assets in the wrong hands, benefitting someone to whom you are no longer married. 

Property After Divorce

Illinois law requires marital property to be divided fairly. Couples often come up with creative solutions for dividing their property, compensating each other with cash, retirement plans, or real estate in exchange for assets they want. Of course, when divorce divides the ownership of an asset, the beneficiaries of any estate plan that manages that asset usually need to change as well. 

However, any personal property that was owned by you before getting married or which is protected by a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, is not subject to division in the divorce. Personal property is often overlooked in estate planning restructuring because marital property is top of mind, but if your ex-spouse is the beneficiary of any personal property, you need to make sure you change that right away. There have been many tragic cases in which beneficiaries were not changed and former spouses inherited property that should have gone to children or to a new partner. 

Wills, Trusts, and More 

Make sure you remember to review all parts of your estate plan with your estate planning attorney. This includes the following legal instruments: 

  • Land trusts 

  • Pet trusts

  • Charitable trusts

  • Trusts that care for a special needs adult 

  • Wills, especially joint wills 

  • Powers of attorney

  • Life insurance policies 

Essentially, any legal instrument that connects you to your ex or gives him or her the power to make important decisions on your behalf needs to be addressed. 

Contact a Hyde Park, IL Estate Planning Lawyer

Whether you have recently gotten divorced or are considering it and wondering how your estate plan will need to change, the experienced Roseland, IL estate planning attorney with The Sherrod Law Firm, Ltd. can help you prioritize your real estate and estate planning goals in a comprehensive and holistic way. Call our office today at 312-321-6910 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you get where you want to go. 


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