Divorce and estate planning

Georgia couples who are contemplating ending their marriages may need to think beyond the short term to determine how the divorce may affect them for the long term. In fact, they may need to consider whether estate planning decisions need to be adjusted given the pending divorce.

In the vast majority of cases divorcing spouses are able to work out their own settlement which is ultimately incorporated into a court order. The parties may agree to require the person paying spousal support or child support to maintain a life insurance policy that names the recipient as the beneficiary. This allows the recipient to be able to count on receiving these funds even in the worst case scenario. They may also agree to drop each others' names as people involved in their estate plan, such as an executor.

Another key consideration is how trust administration will be treated. Many individuals establish trusts as part of their estate plan with the spouse as a trustee, and after a divorce this may need to be changed. Sometimes a trust is established as part of the marital property agreement as well in order to hold life insurance proceeds for the benefit of a minor child.

Individuals who are going through a divorce may wish to talk to an estate planning lawyer in order to determine if there are any changes that are needed to any existing documents. As an example, a will may need to be completely rewritten if a former spouse was listed as the primary or sole beneficiary. Retirement accounts will similarly need to be reviewed if a former spouse has been listed on a beneficiary designation.

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