Our Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys discuss how to change the various aspects of your estate plans after getting divorced. Talk your plans over with one of our professionals. Our experienced Estate Planning Attorneys can assist you in successfully transitioning your estate plans after your spouse is out of the picture. Contact our AZ Legal Team today.
When you’re married, many of your assets will go to your spouse after you pass away, regardless of whether you have a will and other estate planning documents. But if your spouse is named as a beneficiary in your will, they will receive part of your estate, even if you get divorced before your death. After a divorce, your main priorities will probably be settling into your new life, rebuilding your savings, and simply relaxing to recover from the stress. But there may be one last step you need to complete after a divorce- changing your estate plan.
WILL REVOCATION AFTER DIVORCE IN ARIZONA
Once your divorce has been finalized, you probably don’t want to keep your ex-spouse as a beneficiary of your estate. Therefore, one of the first tasks you should complete is revoking, or canceling, your current will. Also, this may only be necessary if the wording in your will is specific (Listing your ex spouse’s specific name in the will vs. “my husband/wife”). In some cases, you may be able to simply amend your will by using a valid codicil. However, if you have designated that your former spouse receive a major part of your estate, it might be easier to just start over with a new will.
Plus, your last will and testament may also need significant revisions if your former spouse is named as an executor to your estate. Our experienced Arizona Estate Planing attorneys can assist you with the revocation of your will during or after a divorce. With both family attorneys and estate planning lawyers, our team is the right team to assist. Call today for a free consultation.
Revoking a will is fairly simple in Arizona. Whereas, you can revoke a will by physically destroying it- tearing it, shredding it, burning it, etc. It is not the best solution. However, destroying your will leaves you without a will, at least temporarily. Also, creating a new will that is inconsistent with your old will also revoke your old will. This is a better solution. Therefore, if you want to make your new will even clearer, you can include a statement along the lines of, “With this will, I revoke and cancel all previous wills.”
Contact an Experienced Will and Trust Attorney
Of course, all of this can be done without the assistance of an attorney. However, it is always best to seek the assistance of an experienced wills and trust lawyer. The attorneys at My Arizona Lawyers are a perfect fit for this situation.
INSURANCE AND RETIREMENT PLANS AFTER DIVORCING IN AZ
You will need to remove an ex spouse from more than just your wills and trusts. Keep in mind, there are several other types of policies. Some of these policies include: life insurance policies, pay on death accounts, pensions, and retirement accounts. It is possible that your ex spouse may have listed you as a beneficiary. However, these policies and accounts could be worth thousands of dollars or more. Therefore, you will probably want to change your designated beneficiaries to your children, siblings, parents, or other loved ones. However, you will need to review your divorce orders before changing your insurance policies and other similar accounts.
It isn’t uncommon for divorce orders to include a stipulation that one spouse doesn’t remove the other from a life insurance policy or retirement account after the divorce. The experienced attorneys at My Arizona Lawyers are experienced in both Estate Planning and Family Law. Our Arizona legal team is the right choice for a situation when you are dealing with Estate Planning and Divorce in Arizona.
TRUSTS AND DIVORCE IN ARIZONA
If you’ve already planned your estate, you may be utilizing living trusts to maximize the benefits that your loved ones will receive from your estate. Additionally, you will probably want to look into revising your living trust to remove your former spouse as a beneficiary after a divorce. Just like your insurance policies and retirement accounts, you should review the terms of your divorce orders to make sure that they don’t prevent you from removing your ex spouse as a beneficiary on your living trusts.
While it may sound crazy at first, you may actually want to set up trusts for your former spouse’s benefit after a divorce. Therefore, you can put an asset that generates income into an alimony trust, and your spousal maintenance payments will be made from that account. Plus, this can transfer more of the tax liability on spousal maintenance to the recipient rather than the paying spouse.
Careful estate planning may make some recipient spouses less welcoming to this type of agreement, but it does offer some benefits. Because the income is generated from an asset and not the paying spouse directly, spousal maintenance payments will continue after the paying spouse’s death.
Trust for the Family Home
Also, it may also be useful to create a trust for the family home if the court grants your spouse the right to live in the marital home. Typically, this will last either for life or until the youngest child reaches adulthood. It can help protect the home from creditors and new spouses.
GUARDIANSHIP FOR MINOR CHILDREN WHEN DIVORCING IN ARIZONA
One important benefit that wills offer is the ability to designate a guardian for your children if you should pass away while they are still minors. Of course, a will won’t override custody orders, and if you share joint custody with your ex, they will most likely receive sole custody of your children in the event of your passing.
You can present any issues you may have about your ex being your children’s primary guardian in your will. However, in short, it will be up to the family law judge to decide if anyone else should serve as your children’s guardian besides their other parent. But, if issues like domestic violence, abandonment, drug addiction, etc., are present, you may receive sole custody of your children. Therefore, if you don’t designate an alternate guardian for your children in your will, your ex may have a better chance of regaining custody if you pass away.
Designated Guardians for Your Children
You should always confirm with your designated guardians before listing them in your will. Additionally, you should communicate any expectations you would have about your children’s upbringing. Depending on your circumstances, you may also want to consider planning your estate. Planning your estate assures that a guardian would receive money or assets to help financially support your children if available.
Additionally, using a trust may allow those funds to bypass some taxes that would apply if you transfer them through a will instead. You should speak with an Arizona estate planning attorney to minimize your estate’s tax liability when it comes to financially providing for your children if you pass away before they reach adulthood. Contact our Arizona Estate Lawyers for assistance in planning for your family’s future.
HEALTH CARE PROXY / HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY
A health care power of attorney, also known as a health care proxy, allows you to designate who should make decisions about your medical treatments if you ever become unable to do so. Examples of these types of situations include being in a coma or persistent vegetative state, or having a degenerative cognitive disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Whereas, many people choose to designate their spouses as their health care power of attorney. But these documents won’t automatically be nullified if you get a divorce. Therefore, you should revoke or update your health care power of attorney as soon as possible after a divorce.
Additionally, you may have also designated your former spouse as your power of attorney over a broader array of decisions, like business and financial decisions. Obviously, this also needs to be changed soon after a divorce, if not during or before.
COME TO THE PROFESSIONALS FOR ASSISTANCE WITH REVISING YOUR ESTATE PLAN AFTER A DIVORCE
Clearly, there are several factors to consider in post-divorce estate planning. Therefore, careful planning can save you and your family thousands, and make sure that your property goes to the people you love when you pass away. Thus, self-help forms might not be sufficient to distribute all of your assets, or help reduce the tax liability for your estate. But you don’t have to figure it out on your own- our experienced Arizona estate planning attorneys offer free consultations and competitive rates.
At My AZ Lawyers, our dedicated family law team can assist you if you need representation for a divorce or custody matter as well. To learn more, call or use our online form to schedule your free consultation today. Our experienced Arizona Estate Planning Lawyers are ready to assist.