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Secure Your Future: Estate Planning After a Divorce

Ensure that your assets are managed and distributed accordingly.

Divorce represents a significant life transition that necessitates careful attention to financial and legal matters.

Estate planning during divorce is not just about legal technicalities; it’s about securing your future and protecting your loved ones. In Ohio, where laws regarding divorce and estate planning intersect, staying informed and proactive is key. Post-divorce estate planning requires thoughtful consideration to ensure that your assets are managed and distributed according to your current wishes.

Seven key considerations to explore:

1. Revise Your Will:
One of the primary tasks following a divorce is to update your will. In Ohio, divorce automatically revokes any provisions in your will that benefit your ex-spouse. This may lead to unintended consequences in your estate which may not reflect your wishes. It’s crucial to revise your will to reflect your current intentions regarding beneficiaries, executors, and guardianship arrangements, if applicable.

2. Choose a New Executor:
Selecting a new executor to manage your estate is essential after a divorce. This individual should be someone reliable and capable of handling the responsibilities associated with executing your will and administering your estate in accordance with your wishes.

3. Update Beneficiary Designations:
Similar to the will, a divorce will also revoke a beneficiary designation which names your former spouse. If no contingent beneficiaries are named, this may result in these assets passing through probate in accordance with your will or the intestacy statute. Reviewing and updating beneficiary designations on accounts such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and payable-on-death (POD) bank accounts, is crucial. This ensures that these assets pass to your intended beneficiaries.

4. Establish New Trusts:
For those with minor children or specific asset management goals, establishing trusts can be beneficial. Trusts can be structured to manage and distribute assets according to your instructions, to provide for the financial needs of your children and ensure that your assets are protected. A trust may also be advisable if you are considering remarriage after a divorce. Estate planning for blended families can be complex. A trust offers many solutions to the most common issues related to estate planning for a blended family.

5. Consider Your Healthcare Directives and Powers of Attorney:
Updating healthcare directives and powers of attorney is essential to appoint new individuals who will make medical and financial decisions on your behalf, should you become incapacitated. This ensures that your preferences are followed and that someone you trust is empowered to act in your best interests. Powers of attorney naming your spouse are terminated when an action for divorce, dissolution, or annulment is filed. Therefore, it is advisable to create new powers of attorney, even while a divorce action is still pending, to nominate new agents to act on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated.

6. Review Real Estate Ownership:
Reviewing the ownership structure of any real estate you own is crucial post-divorce. It may be necessary to update property titles to reflect changes in ownership resulting from the divorce settlement or to clarify rights and obligations related to jointly owned property.

7. Consult with Professionals:
Navigating estate planning during and after divorce can be complicated. Consulting with professionals such as estate planning attorneys and financial advisors who understand Ohio laws is crucial.

In Conclusion: Remember, your estate plan should evolve as your life does. By updating your estate plan promptly and seeking professional guidance, you can navigate this challenging time with confidence, ensuring your wishes are honored and your legacy preserved. Nick Goedde, an attorney with Dooley Gembala McLaughlin Pecora, is dedicated to helping clients navigate these challenging subjects. Please contact Nick to set up a free consultation to discuss your situation and discover how he can help you achieve your goals.

About the author

Nick Goedde

Nick Goedde focuses his legal practice on estate planning and probate law. He guides clients in the preparation of wills, living trusts, financial powers of attorney, and health care powers of attorney. Nick also assists clients with general business law and transactional matters.

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