If You Have A Will or Trust
If you have a will or similar estate planning document, such as a living trust, your spouse will typically be designated as the executor and/or trustee, and probably is named as the primary or sole beneficiary of your estate. Clearly, you should immediately review your will or living trust with an estate planning attorney to determine if you wish to make any changes. Keep in mind that most states have an "elective share statute" which provides that your spouse (whether estranged or not) will automatically be entitled to a certain percentage of your estate. However, through proper planning, there are a number of ways to avoid or limit the assets which are subject to the elective share, and to provide that your estranged spouse does not receive more of your estate than you want him or her to. You should seek the advice of a qualified estate planning attorney to modify your will, trust and other estate planning documents.’
Resources & Tools
BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS -- Following a divorce, the beneficiary designations for the following financial instruments should be amended unless the client chooses to leave everything to his/her ex-spouse: 1) Employer retirement plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), life insurance, annuities, health savings accounts; 2) Transfer on Death (TOD) investment accounts; 3) Payable on Death (POD) bank accounts; 4) wills ; 5) health care powers of attorney and living wills; 6) powers of attorney; 7) revocable trusts; 8) advanced estate planning structures such as irrevocable trusts.
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