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

Life-Changing Events That Should Prompt an Update to Your Estate Plan

Illinois estate planning lawyersIf there is one thing you can count on in life, it is that things will change. Some changes are more internal, such as a new passion or career goal. Others are external. The former, though often positive, are likely to have little impact on the future of your estate. In contrast, the latter may require a significant change to your estate plan. Learn more about these changes in the following sections, and how an attorney can help ensure they are effectively addressed.

Re-Marriage and Divorce

Changing your marital status – whether from single to married or married to divorce – will, in most cases, warrant an update to your estate plan. This is especially true in the case of divorce and second, third, or other subsequent marriages. You should not tackle the changes alone, however, since blended families and ex family members can further complicate an already complex process. Instead, ask an attorney for assistance.

Birth and Adoption

The welcoming of a new child is a joyous event, but if you do not change your estate plan, you risk leaving your newest family member out in the cold. This can be especially troublesome if you have an ex-spouse. Further, young children may be at risk for foster placement – even if only temporarily – if you do not appoint a guardian and both you and your spouse pass away unexpectedly. So protect your children and update your estate plan as soon as the birth or adoption has taken place.

Death, Illness, or Injury of an Heir

If one of your heirs becomes ill or seriously injured, you may need to update your estate plan to better reflect the situation. For example, if a child becomes disabled after a car crash, you may want to assign provisions for them to ensure they are properly cared for after your passing. This may mean changing the inheritance of other children or heirs. Death of an heir should also prompt a change since that person can no longer inherit.

Tax Law Changes

While not all tax law changes warrant a change to your estate plan, others certainly do. In fact, some could significantly impact how your estate is taxed or distributed. This is also why it is a good idea to ensure your estate plan is reviewed by an attorney on a regular basis; they can ensure you are taking advantage of the options available to you and your heirs, and that all new tax laws are being considered. If you have questions about your estate plan and how taxes may impact it, contact an experienced estate planning attorney today.

Schedule a Consultation with Our Estate Planning Lawyers

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we work hard to preserve the best interests of our clients and their heirs. Seasoned and knowledgeable, we can review your estate plan, no matter what changes have occurred in your life, and will ensure you understand your options. Learn more about how our DuPage County estate planning attorneys can assist you. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule a consultation with us today.

Source:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/markeghrari/2017/01/02/6-reasons-to-revise-your-estate-plan-as-soon-as-possible/#8c12078e1e12

 

Mapping Out Your Financial Future

estate plan, your financial future, Wheaton estate planning attorneysEstate planning and retirement planning tend to go hand in hand. Having a solid financial plan in place for your retirement also enables you to form certain elements of your estate plan, such as special needs trusts and living wills.

Financial advisors note key milestones that every person should be aware of when it comes to retirement planning. At each milestone, it is suggested that you take stock in what you have in place regarding your retirement funds and analyze any steps you need to take to remain on target.

Estate Planning Milestones

50 years old: When you reach this milestone, you are allowed to make what is referred to as "catch-up contributions" to both your individual retirement account as well as to your 401(k) account. Last year, the catch-up contribution for retirement accounts was $1,000, and for 401(k)s it was $5,500.

55 years old: Once you turn 55, you are allowed to begin taking early withdrawals from your 401(k), penalty-free. However, there are strict rules associated with these withdrawals—the accounts must be employer-established (not IRAs) and you must have worked for the employer up until you turned 55 years old.

59 and one-half years old: At the half-way point of your last year before hitting 60, you are allowed to take penalty-free withdrawals from both IRAs and 401(k) accounts. For those still working at this age, your plan administrator will be able to provide requirements on what is referred to as "in-service" withdrawals.

62 years old: This is the earliest age you can retire and collect Social Security benefits. However, keep in mind that the earlier you retire, the less your benefit will be. At 62, your benefit will be approximately 30 percent less than if you retire at this age.

65 years old: You can sign up for Medicare once you turn 65 years old. Also, if you have been contributing money to a health care savings account, you are now allowed to take money out for non-medical reasons without having to pay a penalty.

Between the ages of 66 and 67 years old: If you were born between 1943 and 1959, turning 66 means you have reached retirement age and can collect Social Security. For those born in 1960 or after, you reach your Social Security retirement at age 67.

70 years old: If you wait to retire until your 70th birthday, you will receive your full Social Security benefit.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney

It is never too early to start planning your financial future for retirement. Contact the experienced Wheaton estate planning attorneys of Stock, Carlson, Flynn & McGrath, LLC at 630-665-2500 to schedule your consultation.