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How a Gray Divorce Can Affect Estate Planning

The complications that arise from divorce are seemingly never-ending, but if you are divorcing after a marriage of many years, you can face even more considerable concerns, including those related to your estate planning (which is an important matter in and of itself). So-called gray divorces are on the rise, and if you find yourself in this challenging situation, seek the professional legal counsel of a dedicated Chicago divorce attorney who has considerable experience successfully guiding these complicated cases toward advantageous outcomes. 

Your Estate

Many people believe that estate planning is only for those living lifestyles of the rich and famous, but this is far from the reality of the matter. In actuality, your estate represents your financial legacy – everything you’ve worked so hard to acquire and that you plan to pass on to your loved ones when the time comes. As we age, estate planning becomes even more critical because the time when these plans will go into effect is drawing nearer. 

If you are also facing a gray divorce (which Forbes defines as divorce after 50), it can jeopardize your estate plans, which means that your assets may not be distributed according to your wishes when the time comes – unless you address the matter head-on. A knowledgeable divorce attorney can work in conjunction with your financial advisor and estate lawyer, who can prepare any necessary wills and trusts in conjunction with your divorce proceeding and settlement terms.

While You Are Married

If you were to die unexpectedly while married, your estate plan would guide how your assets are distributed (outside of what – by law – belongs to your spouse). As such, if you were to die unexpectedly while your gray divorce is processing, your estate could be distributed in a manner that is contrary to your wishes. There are, however, steps you can take to address the matter. A divorce attorney should be able to work closely with your estate planners, advisors and lawyers to ensure the necessary documents, wills, and trusts are prepared in a timely fashion and to fully incorporate your wishes and settlement terms.

Steps Forward

As you approach your divorce, there are plenty of considerations to keep in mind and juggle, but it is important not to let your estate planning take a backseat. Toward this end, keep all the following in mind as you move forward with the divorce process:

  • Work with a seasoned divorce attorney who has a wide range of experience helping clients successfully maneuver gray divorces and the complicated estate planning that these often entail. 
  • Share your wishes regarding your estate with your divorce attorney and your estates, wills, and trusts attorney to help ensure that they are well represented in your estate plan and your judgment for dissolution of marriage. 
  • Make the necessary changes to your retirement accounts and life insurance policies to ensure that your beneficiaries are up to date, only at such a time as final settlement terms are reached in your divorce or as advised to do so by your legal counsel. 
  • Address the matter of your retirement, which is an important component of estate planning, with your attorneys – to help ensure that you are on track financially and that you are protecting your financial rights in relation to your retirement throughout the divorce process. 

It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced Chicago Divorce Attorney

The formidable Chicago divorce attorneys at WARD FAMILY LAW have the experience successfully handling gray divorce and the related estate planning concerns that you are looking for. To learn more, please don’t wait to contact us today.

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