What You Should Know About Selling Your Marital Home During a Divorce

divorce, DuPage County real estate attorneyFor a dedicated real estate broker, there are few things that as satisfying as helping a client buy a new home or to sell a home at a substantial profit. In many situations, the same broker can help a client with both deals at the same time—selling their current home while buying a bigger and better home for the future. At some point, however, most real estate professionals will eventually find themselves caught in the middle of a contentious divorce—one where the couple is being forced by the circumstances to sell their marital home. To manage such a situation, many real estate agents have developed strategies to help them thrive in what has become known as the “divorce niche” of real estate.

Be Very Patient

If you are going through a divorce, you want the proceedings to move as fast as possible without compromising your best interests. The same holds true for a real estate broker who is trying to help you sell your family home. Selling a house is difficult under the best of circumstances, and the added complications of the divorce can slow things down even more. Your agent might need to get approvals from both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, which is often very challenging if the divorce has turned bitter. Therefore, you and your broker will need to be extremely patient as you work on selling your home.

Keeping the Divorce Talk to a Minimum

While your divorce may be the only reason that you are selling your home, your potential buyers do not need to know that. In fact, many agents say that it is a good idea to avoid mentioning your divorce to prospective buyers altogether. If you tell a buyer that you are only selling because of a divorce, it may create the impression that you are desperate to make a deal. In turn, this could lead to lower bids and increased demands from buyers looking to capitalize on a perceived opportunity.

Your agent might also do some things around the house to address evidence of a pending divorce. For example, he or she may rearrange your bedroom furniture or the contents of your closets to make it less obvious that your spouse moved out recently.

Creating Loyalty

A real estate broker who can adeptly handle the sale of a home during a divorce will usually be well-positioned to help you and your spouses as you move forward. There is a good chance that both of you will soon be looking for a new place to live. If your agent was honest, communicative, and easy to work with, you might be inclined to work with him or her again in the future. Your broker could also benefit from you sharing your positive experiences with your friends and family.

A Wheaton Real Estate Lawyer Can Help Too

There is little question that a qualified real estate broker can be a tremendous source of guidance when you are looking to sell your home during your divorce. However, there are many legal concerns that must be dealt with, as well. A real estate agent is not trained or permitted to offer legal advice, which means that you should contact an experienced DuPage County real estate attorney. By adding a legal professional to your sales team, you can ensure that all important aspects of the deal have been addressed. Call Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC at 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Sources:

https://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/real-estate-mistakes-you-dont-want-to-make-in-a-divorce

https://www.npr.org/2011/01/20/133026583/for-sale-by-divorce-a-real-estate-niche

The Importance of Updating Your Will After a Divorce

divorce, DuPage County estate planning lawyerHave you drafted and signed a will that outlines your wishes regarding your property and other concerns in the event that you were to die unexpectedly? If so, you are in a better position than most American adults are. In fact, recent estimates suggest that approximately 60 percent of adults in the United States have no formal estate plan in place—not even a basic will. Having a will is a good thing, of course, but it is important to remember that certain life events can have a dramatic impact on the applicability of your existing estate plan. If you are considering a divorce, you will need to think about how it will affect your estate plan.

Your Ex-Spouse in Your Will

It is common for a married person to name his or her spouse as an heir in his or her will. In fact, many married individuals decide that their entire estate should go to their surviving spouse. Additionally, a person could also appoint his or her spouse to serve as the executor of the estate.

According to the Illinois Probate Act, if you divorce your spouse with a valid will still in place, your will remains valid and enforceable. However, the provisions in your will pertaining to your spouse are revoked automatically once the divorce is finalized. Such provisions include any appointments, nominations, responsibilities, and, intended inheritances. As a practical matter, the law treats the situation as if your spouse passed away before you did.

Making the Changes

Once your divorce is finalized, you will need to update any sections of your will that made reference to your former spouse. You might even wish to do so before the divorce actually finalizes. If you were to die before the divorce decree is issued, the provisions in your will that pertain to your spouse are not revoked because you were not divorced. If you do decide to amend your will prior to your divorce finalizing, remember that you will probably need to make more changes later after the distribution of marital property is complete.

You should also keep in mind that the automatic revocation of provisions only pertains to your spouse. If you have named your stepchildren or in-laws as heirs or fiduciaries, those provisions will remain in effect until you actively change them.

It is possible to keep your ex as an heir or a fiduciary in your will if you choose to do so. For example, you might trust your former spouse with managing your estate, or you may want him or her to have certain assets. In order to do so, you must draft and sign a new version of your will that includes your ex-spouse after the divorce decree is issued.

A Wheaton Wills Attorney Can Help

For more information about how your divorce might affect your will, contact an experienced DuPage County estate planning lawyer. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC today.

 

Source:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60

Make Estate Planning Part of Your New Year's Resolutions

StaciMany people make the new year the start of their new resolutions, whether they want to lose weight, save more money, or improve other parts of their lives. A recent Press & Guide article points out that one often-overlooked aspect of life is estate planning. As we move through the first part of 2013, take some time and make one of your resolutions to engage in some estate planning that will help carry out your wishes and save your surviving family members from some headaches in the long run.

You may think it is sufficient to avoid formal estate planning if you have listed another person as beneficiary on your bank accounts, life insurance policies, and 401(k) and other investment accounts. The major problem with using the beneficiary designation as an estate planning tool is the risk that a beneficiary predeceases you. If there is no beneficiary designated, and you have no will or other estate planning document in place, then state law will dictate how the proceeds of your account or other asset is divided among your heirs, whether that is what you intended or not. The bottom line is that if you want to be certain that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, then you need to take all necessary steps to ensure that your plans are carried out.

Another common problem with beneficiary designations is that people tend to forget to change them as major life events occur. Marriage, divorce, adoption, and death are all important reasons to review your beneficiary designations on all of your accounts and other assets. Otherwise, you run the real risk of having your assets distributed to your ex-wife, your deceased father, or excluding your newly adopted child from your estate altogether. These situations can result in some ugly and lengthy legal battles following your death if you do not take all steps necessary to avoid them.

As your Naperville estate planning attorneys well know, solely relying on the beneficiary designation as your estate planning device is simply not enough to ensure that your wishes are followed with respect to the distribution of your property. Contact our law office today and set up an appointment in order to devise an estate plan that you can depend on to carry your wishes.