“A divorce is like an amputation; you survive, but there’s less of you.” Margaret Atwood, Canadian writer.
There is life after divorce and there is also death after divorce. You might as well be prepared for both.
The divorce process culminates in a final judgment, called a Final Decree of Divorce. A typical Divorce Decree in Texas for a couple with children can run 50 pages or more – and that is for uncomplicated divorces.
The Decree is chock full of information that is important to estate planning, such as:
- Division of assets and debts
- Child support, medical support and spousal support obligations
- Life insurance requirements
- Creation of a Trust.
The obligation to pay child support does not stop when the parent dies, thus it is not unusual for the decree to require that the parent maintain a life insurance policy that will pay the child support. It is also not unusual to have a spousal support obligation (less enlightened states call this “alimony”) that is secured by land or other assets. All of this needs to be considered when you are making your Estate Plan.
There are other issues that arise upon a divorce. Perhaps your former planning documents named your ex-spouse’s relatives or friends as executor, guardian, or attorney in fact. Those references aren’t automatically voided by your divorce. Perhaps you never had planning documents because you assumed (if you thought about it at all) that your then-spouse would take care of everything. That plan won’t work so well in the future.
Give us a call if you are divorced and need a will or ancillary documents. Bring your divorce decree and any court-ordered modifications with you to your appointment. We have some work to do.
Hammerle Finley Law Firm. Give us a call. We can help.
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The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.