Estate Planning and Divorce in Georgia

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Estate Planning and Divorce are issues that need to be considered together as they affect one another. At The Law Office of Paul Black, we are experts in handling the intersection of divorce and estate planning.

Author: Paul Black

Paul’s experience as the son of two parents with big health challenges is what led him to the work he does today and gives him first-hand knowledge of the challenges that many caregivers and family members face. After graduation from GSU Law, Paul was chosen from dozens of applicants nationwide as one of three 2010-2011 Borchard Foundation Law & Aging Fellows. Paul has been named as  a SuperLawyers “Rising Star” in the area of Estate Planning and as a member of Georgia’s “Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend magazine. Published on: October 9, 2019. Last updated on: October 25, 2019.

Estate Planning and Divorce in Georgia

Estate Planning and Divorce in Georgia section

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Estate planning and divorce in Georgia is a complicated subject, and it may not be the first thing on your mind if you’re considering getting a divorce. Properly updating or creating an estate plan that takes into consideration the changes in your family is critical. Unfortunately, with all of the other issues one has to deal with during those times, many important elements get overlooked.

While divorce proceedings are ongoing, your spouse has specific rights. You want to make certain to fulfill your legal commitments to your ex while working out as much control over your possessions as possible. Additionally, if you die or become incapacitated before the divorce is finalized, you don’t want your new wishes to be compromised. 

Divorce is never enjoyable to consider or go through. With appropriate preparation, however, a person can at least prevent future issues occurring after the divorce is completed. Having the right legal counsel from the Law Office of Paul Black will provide the information you need.

Important Information for Handling Wills After Divorce

Although there are many complicated things going on during a divorce (such as emotions and financial changes, just to name a few!), there are necessary items to address regarding your Wills after a divorce. 

When mentioning a divorce, issues such as alimony payments, asset division, and child custody come to the top of mind; estate planning documents are often pushed aside or forgotten. However, it is crucial to make sure you address your plans and make the needed adjustments as soon as possible.

If you have an estate plan, your soon-to-be ex-spouse probably figured prominently in it. He or she was probably a beneficiary of your will or trust and maybe an executor or trustee. So, it might be a good idea to revoke and restate all essential estate planning documents before filing for a divorce, such as updating your advanced healthcare directive and financial power of attorney.

Several potentially overlooked steps in estate planning and divorce in Georgia include:

  • Check your prenuptial agreement to see what you are required to leave your spouse
  • Change your power of attorney and update your living will or health care proxy
  • Discuss your revocable trust options
  • Adjust your life insurance policy and pension plan to include a new beneficiary
  • Check income tax rules regarding alimony
  • Get all property appraised
  • Be aware of any major financial changes made by your spouse before the divorce is finalized

In many states, you will not have the ability to alter the beneficiary designation of your life insurance coverage, pensions, or other retirement funds (like your 401k) during divorce proceedings. Many are only adjustable before filing. A Georgia lawyer familiar with probate court will know the most current laws.

Choosing an Attorney When Handling a Will and Divorce

There are various approaches relating to a will and divorce in Georgia. Primarily, though, one should consider hiring one or more lawyers experienced in estate planning and divorce in Georgia. The first can handle the issues specific to the separation of the parties and properties they’ve accumulated. The second will focus on the will and estate. An attorney experienced in both issues can explain why it’s necessary to create an estate plan now.

Wills After Divorce

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Estate Planning for Divorced Parents

Estate Planning for Divorced Parents

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Divorce is never easy, but estate planning for divorced parents involves additional complications. Determining how to design a Will after divorce is largely based on the size of the estate and whether children are involved. Further understanding of how a will is probated in Georgia is necessary to making sure your last wishes involving your estate are followed. 

Often, during a divorce, properties are liquidated, and the profits divided. When children are involved, the home is more likely to be retained by the primary caregiver. When this is agreed upon, it makes these important decisions easier. Unfortunately, many divorces are not amicable. They often require the assistance of an arbitrator or legal representative. 

In cases where the divorced parties remarry and have blended families including children, step-children, half-siblings, etc., it’s important to consider how each person is included in your estate plan. State laws differ on who is automatically considered an heir, so it’s critical to make your wishes known in your Will. 

Choosing an Estate Planning Attorney

Developing a good relationship with a law firm that specializes in a range of areas including elder law ensures that your interests are protected throughout your life. The best legal agent can lead you to the ideal estate plan for your life and your family. They can advise you and help mediate a divorce that works for all parties involved.

They represent your estate in probate court when the time comes and even assist with the following activities:

  • Distribution of residential or business properties 
  • Paying any extant bills
  • Handling real estate tax, etc.

If you are updating a Georgia Will or otherwise dealing with estate planning or divorce in Georgia, a reputable and skilled estate planning attorney can handle the important and complicated issues throughout your life.

Divorce Financial Planning Complications

Another unexpected aspect of divorce financial planning is considering additional family members who may have been included when you first created your estate plan. For example, even if a former spouse is instantly removed from the estate plan by virtue of getting divorced, his or her loved ones might not be. This may include children your ex-spouse had from a prior relationship, or even his or her parents or siblings.

Part of your estate planning during divorce strategy might consist of making arrangements for those family members that are removed from the will due to the divorce. Generally, divorce settlements are prepared by divorce attorneys without consulting estate preparation lawyers. A divorce lawyer may not identify any estate preparation problems that could result in post-divorce administration issues. 

Hiring a counselor who works with families and is experienced in Georgia estate planning may be the best option.

Additional Divorce Financial Advice in Georgia

Make sure to receive your divorce financial advice only from a reputable source that you trust. To guarantee your estate plan is completely followed, having a lawyer experienced in estate planning and divorce in Georgia is your best strategy. 

The right attorney might have the ability to advise you of financial options you may have previously overlooked. He or she can also guarantee everything is filed properly, help with mediating the conversations leading to the divorce, and may even represent you in court.

Divorce Financial Planning

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Amending a Will After Divorce

Amending a Will

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Since it is legally binding as soon as it is signed, amending a will as soon as possible is a vital step in the divorce process. Estate planning and divorce in Georgia is typically a short procedure. As soon as the divorce is completed, you should review your estate strategy and see what aspects need to be revised as a result of the divorce. 

If you are thinking about getting a divorce or are in the process of getting a divorce, it is necessary to discuss your needs with a qualified and experienced estate lawyer in Georgia. Contact Paul Black to ensure that you and your estate are secured.

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