Updating Your Estate Plan to Reflect Your Divorce
Some people say that the most difficult time to get divorced is in your 30s. Others hold that age 47 is the most stressful time in your life and, it follows, that getting divorced at that time would only compound the stress. Getting divorced when your children are minors, as is often the case with couples in their 30s and 40s, comes with its own set of challenges, but going through a divorce late in life is not exactly a walk in the park, either. If you have already created an estate plan, and then your spouse tells you they want a divorce, you are to be commended for being so proactive about estate planning. You will also need to revise your estate plan, whether your divorce has already become final or whether it is still pending. If your marriage is on the rocks and you are wondering how divorce will affect your estate plan, contact a Central Florida estate planning lawyer.
When the Grim Reaper Stops a Divorce Case in Its Tracks
Celebrity gossip websites or, for those of us who are really old, the society pages of the newspaper, abound with stories about extraordinarily wealthy couples whose divorce cases have been going on for years. Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt in 2016, and their divorce case went on so long that a court officially declared them single in 2019 even though some issues in their divorce case continue to make news headlines. Closer in age and geography to the readers of this blog, if not in net worth, are Burt and Lucille “Lovey” Handelsman, whose epic divorce after six decades of marriage required a court to divide a real estate empire that included some of the priciest shopping districts in South Florida.
The Handelsmans are officially divorced, even though the property disputes continue, and so are Brangelina, but what happens if one spouse dies while the divorce case is still pending? Another celebrity story serves as an example. When Ric Ocasek of the band The Cars died in 2019, he was going through a divorce from his wife Paulina Porizkova; they had been separated since 2017. In failing health, and knowing that high net worth divorce cases have a way of dragging on for years, Ocasek rewrote his will so that Porizkova would inherit nothing. If he had not done this, the provisions of his old will would have still applied, as though the divorce case had never happened. Inheritance law does not differentiate between a beloved spouse and an estranged one.
The moral of the story is that, if you are planning to divorce, or if you or your spouse has filed for divorce, the time to update your will is now. You should also update the beneficiaries on non-probate assets that you had planned to pass on to your spouse. An estate planning lawyer can help you with this process.
Contact Us Today for Professional Help
An experienced Tampa estate planning lawyer can help you revise your estate plan in light of a recent divorce. Contact David Toback for help with your case.