There is no doubt that divorce is an emotional experience, but it is also a legal process. Divorcing couples have to untangle their marital assets, sort out support payments and make sure that custody orders reflect their children’s best interests. It is easy to get caught up in the momentum of this period of time and forget about much else. Some people do not even realize how important it is to also revisit their estate plans during and after divorce.
Wills give people the ability to list all of their assets and who should get what, so they are crucial for estate planning. Many people in Ohio choose to pass on assets to spouses, children and other loved ones. It is usually pretty easy to remove a spouse from a will during an Ohio divorce, but bigger changes will need to wait till later. After divorce is a good time to update a will so that it reflects current assets only, and not those that went to an ex-spouse in property division.
Other changes can take place before a divorce is finalized. Spouses often show up on things like powers of attorney, life insurance beneficiaries and trusts, all of which are common estate planning tools. Leaving an ex on any one of these documents may be problematic, and may exclude family members from assets to which they would have otherwise been entitled.
Dealing with two significant processes at once can feel overwhelming, but it does not have to be. This is because some of the changes that are made in divorce can be easily applied to estate plans, both before and after things are finalized. However, to make sure estate changes accurately reflect a person’s new reality, it could be helpful to speak with an experienced attorney who is experienced with Ohio family law.