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Understanding Divorce and Estate Planning in Illinois

Published on December 4th, 2023

Man and woman folding their hands on a table while a clipboard with paperwork and two gold rings sits between them.

Regardless of one’s financial standing, it’s advised to have a comprehensive estate plan in place. An estate plan outlines your preferences regarding the allocation of your assets after death. Estate plans typically include elements like wills and trusts.

After divorce proceedings, it’s common to overlook the crucial step of updating one’s estate plan. If you’re wondering how divorce and estate planning can impact one another in Illinois, contact our Rockford divorce attorneys today.

The Status of Your Will During Divorce Proceedings

In Rockford, IL, filing for divorce doesn’t immediately alter your existing estate plan. This implies that, throughout the divorce, your spouse continues to be the primary beneficiary and potentially the executor of your will, as initially designated.

Most people don’t want their ex-spouse in control of their estate should they pass on. However, this may be the outcome if divorce proceedings are extensive and one spouse becomes incapacitated or dies before the divorce is final. Ex-spouses can also receive inheritance if they’re still a beneficiary in the deceased’s will.

Amending Your Estate Plan Before the Divorce is Final

In Illinois, individuals can opt to amend their will to exclude their spouse as both beneficiary and executor during the divorce process. Alternatively, one can also opt for a bifurcated divorce. This process divides the divorce into two distinct stages.

First, an immediate divorce decree is issued. Then, at a later date, it’s followed by the resolution of other matters that come up during divorce agreements. These can include issues like child custody and asset division.

This prevents one spouse from legally challenging their exclusion from the will while the divorce is ongoing but the marriage is still legal.

Estate Planning After Divorce

Once a divorce is finalized in Rockford, IL, an ex-spouse is no longer eligible to be an executor or partake in the estate’s asset distribution. Nevertheless, they can still inherit assets if they remain named beneficiaries. Therefore, revising your will after divorce is imperative.

It’s important to update beneficiary designation and listed authorized individuals in estate planning documents such as:

  • Trusts
  • POA (Powers of Attorney)
  • Life Insurance Policies
  • 401K Plans
  • IRAs
  • Health Care Proxies
  • Annuities

Contact Our Experienced Divorce Attorneys

If you’re planning to file for divorce in Rockford, IL, you will need to update your estate plan. This requires careful legal and financial consideration.

At the Crosby Law Firm, our attorneys are highly experienced in family law matters, including divorce and estate planning. We can guide you in making necessary adjustments to ensure your estate plan reflects your wishes and current circumstances.

We’re also available to help you through other critical financial matters that arise during divorce proceedings.

Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation with our estate planning attorneys in Rockford, IL.

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