Recently Divorced? Don’t Forget About Your Estate Plan…
Marital dissolution inheres major estate planning implications. Property division, child custody, and spousal support must all be addressed and finalized. Amidst associated emotional and economic fallout, it is easy to overlook one’s estate plan. Such negligence carries potentially disastrous consequences for all parties concerned, however. Below are a few key estate plan components you cannot afford to ignore:
Begin your estate plan modifications by revising your will. Even if you initially executed your will prior to marriage, family and financial circumstances have undoubtedly changed dramatically since then. The areas most likely to require amendment are asset distribution and personal representative appointment. Changing your will is easy to accomplish, either by executing a document called a “codicil” – or rewriting its entire terms.
Review the terms of any trust established before or during your marriage with a Florida estate planning attorney to determine what changes will be necessary. You might need to name a new Trustee or beneficiary(ies). Revocable Living Trusts are easy to alter to suit your changed needs and circumstances.
Other types of trusts like charitable trusts, Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, and Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts may be much more difficult or impossible to change. This is because the original motivation for initial inception is the execution of irrevocable elections. Such instruments are typically structured to accomplish mutual benefits for both husband and wife. Should either spouse subsequently assume legal authority to alter any election made thereunder, associated tax advantages are usually reversed.
If your spouse is a named beneficiary, you will probably want to designate another person to receive death benefit(s) in the event of your demise. In most cases, all you need do is contact the insurance carrier. Be aware that Domestic Relations courts frequently deem any life insurance cash value as part of the marital estate. Thus, it is subject to equitable division. It is also quite common for divorce courts to order the maintenance of a minimum level of life insurance coverage to protect minor children.
Ascertain all available death benefit payout options that your carrier offers. If, for instance, your children are relatively young, consider a structured benefit instead of a lump sum payment. This helps ensure the continuance of periodic subsistence payments for much longer than a single large sum might last. In addition, it may even be possible to include a combination of periodic and single payments to ensure that major future expenses like college educations will be covered.
A Florida estate planning attorney is your best source of accurate advice and assistance. Nina L. Ferraro can further explore the full range of available estate plan revisions that best suit your individual needs. Devising your own optimal strategy often requires the perusal of complex legal documents such as prenuptial agreements, statutory tax and estate provisions, Social Security regulations, or the terms of private retirement plans such as 401(k)s or pensions. Do not delay. Call Nina to begin laying a solid foundation for a better future and brighter tomorrow right away or email Nina NOW!
Office: 772-221-0600 or cell 772-215-1772