Marriage is meant to be a lifelong union that only separates us in death, but in today’s times, half of first-time unions end up in divorce. Second- and third-time marriages only increase these odds for divorce. While this statistic is alarming, a recent study found that a higher majority of adults in America do not have an estate plan in place for their retirement and beyond. This endeavor can be very involved, as estate law is known for its many complexities. However, doing so can provide a range of considerable benefits to your loved ones and the continuation of your estate. JDKatz is here to serve as your trusted estate lawyers in Maryland and D.C., delivering personalized services to optimize the outcome for your loved ones in the event you pass away. We’ll walk you through every step of protecting your will and estate from challenges, shortcomings, and other concerns. This can be very important for adults currently facing the many changes involved with divorce.

From young couples sharing an apartment to successful spouses with multiple vacation homes, divorce can disrupt many of our life plans. It can become too easy to get caught up in the emotional distress and daily changes involved with a separation, and many people overlook their estate plan in the process. Today, we’ll continue to discuss how divorce affects estate planning, as well as the differences that each location can require. If you’re worried about the continuation of your assets, retirement costs, and so on, be sure to contact our estate attorneys for assistance!

Updating Documents

It’s essential for Maryland and D.C. residents to follow through with the divorce process by working with their estate planning attorney to cover every aspect of their plan for any potential changes or setbacks. Your Last Will and Testament, for example, is vital for expressing your final wishes and bequeathing your assets onto loved ones. Divorce in Maryland will result in your ex-spouse’s designations being revoked while in D.C., your entire will can be revoked. Failing to follow up after your divorce may result in intestacy!

Trusts

Living trusts and other revocable designations can be useful for numerous strategies. Spouses on their second or third marriage can utilize a trust to protect the interests of their children from previous unions. Keep in mind that the “revocable” aspect of the trust is important here, as divorcing spouses need to consider that the other individual is fully entitled to all provisions until the divorce is finalized.

Irrevocable trusts are much more stringent and should therefore have more agreements in place for how to divide the property in case of separation.

Maryland

Similarly to the will, divorce will make proactive changes for Maryland residents. Once the divorce decree has been delivered, all provisions relating to your former spouse will be invalidated.

D.C.

Like Virginia, the District of Columbia does not enact changes for divorcing couples when it comes to their revocable trusts. If you have gained a complete and legal separation, the next step is to speak with your local estate lawyer for assistance. Divorce plays no role in revocable trusts here, and provisions made before the uncoupling will still be valid. If you have other plans for your assets now that you are divorced, it is essential to make the necessary changes to your estate plan!

Powers of Attorney

Giving POA to your spouse is a normal process, allowing him or her to make decisions on your authority in legal and financial matters. In most states, a divorce will negate any spousal claim to your power of attorney. Our estate planning attorneys recommend proactivity in this department, as it is important to update your POAs before the divorce process continues. Problems can arise for couples who are not able to maintain a positive relationship. Having power of attorney can be dangerous, which is why it is important to know your local regulations governing divorce and POAs.

Maryland

Like most states, Maryland governances state that your spouse’s authority will be terminated once the papers have been filed for a dissolution of marriage. Divorced couples will have no power of attorney one another unless their POA specifically states otherwise.

D.C.

If you live in D.C., it’s important to work with your estate lawyer to make the changes to your estate plan to avoid any unnecessary complications associated with spousal POA. Columbia residents must know that a file or decree of divorce does not revoke your spouse’s authority in this situation. Additional work will be needed to ensure the best result.

Going through a divorce while trying to interpret estate law can be challenging. Next time, we’ll conclude our blog post series by highlighting the importance of updating your beneficiaries and other assets (including 401(k)s, life insurance, etc). If you’re worried about your assets during the divorce process, then be sure to reach out to our estate lawyers in Maryland and D.C. for assistance. Our local experts can help to create a personalized plan that accounts for your goals, plans, property, and more. Contact us today for assistance!